Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - BETTINA WAR­BUR­TON

TOWNSVILLE’S po­si­tion as a pow­er­house for edutourism op­por­tu­ni­ties has been ce­mented, with the re­gion at­tract­ing a record num­ber of study abroad pro­gram groups.

Townsville North Queens­land EduTourism Con­sor­tium chair­man Ross McLen­nan said the num­ber of study abroad pro­gram groups vis­it­ing the re­gion was set to soar when the lu­cra­tive Sin­ga­pore and China mar­kets were tapped into.

“We’ve been largely fo­cused on the United States mar­ket, so our reach will in­crease sub­stan­tially next year and beyond when we start to tap into the Asian mar­ket,” Mr McLen­nan, who owns Hid­den Val­ley Cab­ins, said.

“The con­sor­tium has a vi­sion to be Aus­tralia’s cap­i­tal for trans­for­ma­tional ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing and teach­ing pro­grams.”

Mr McLen­nan said the con­sor­tium com­prised world­class re­search in­sti­tu­tions and nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment agen­cies in­clud­ing James Cook Univer­sity, the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Marine Sci­ence, the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity as well as tourism op­er­a­tors.

“Tourism op­er­a­tors in the re­gion came to­gether in 2013 to es­tab­lish the EduTourism Con­sor­tium to de­velop new prod­ucts and di­ver­sify our busi­nesses to at­tract in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion groups,” he said. “North Queens­land is now recog­nised as a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for study abroad teach­ing and learn­ing … par­tic­u­larly in the fields of marine and trop­i­cal sci­ences and en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies.”

Dur­ing the past fi­nan­cial year, the re­gion hosted 20 groups of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, con­tribut­ing about $ 1 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy.

“In five years we have in­creased our mar­ket seven­fold and that will only in­crease once we tap into the op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia,” Mr McLen­nan said.


IN­TER­NA­TIONAL BOON: Stu­dents from Florida Univer­sity take part in a study tour at Paluma.

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