DEEP NEED F OR UNDERSEA ART
AN Australian Museum of Underwater Art off Townsville could boost the region’s tourism visitation by hundreds of thousands of people a year, a business event has been told.
Acclaimed British international sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is visiting Townsville this week to assess the feasibility of establishing underwater sculpture at four sites.
He has been invited to the region by an Australian Museum of Underwater Art Project Team backed by Townsville Enterprise, the Townsville and Palm Island councils, James Cook University, environmental consultancy Reef Ecologic and marine operator SeaLink.
Speaking after a Townsville Bulletin Business Breakfast yesterday, Mr deCaires Taylor said some of his projects at smaller locations attracted about 40,000 people a year, while an underwater museum off Cancun, Mexico – which he said would be of a similar scale to the Townsville proposal – attracted about 400,000.
“( Visitation) could be within that range,” Mr deCaires Taylor said.
Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said the project was something which could create a much- needed tourism seachange.
SeaLink Queensland general manager Paul Victory said a budget of about $ 2 million was being considered for the underwater museum.
Already, the Morris Group, which owns the The Ville Resort- Casino and the Orpheus Island Resort, has pledged $ 200,000.
“It’s never easy y to raise $ 2 million but I’m confident that the North Q u e e n s l a n d c o r p o r a t e community is coming to the table,” Mr Victory said. There is also hope of support from government.