WORLD OF POTENTIAL FOR EDUTOURISM
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.