New islands tour is a game changer for Mackay tourism
A NEW full-time tour to islands off Mackay is expected to attract thousands of tourists and precious tourism dollars once it begins in mid-2021.
The South Cumberland island group is known for its national park, encompassing nine islands abundant with marine and bird life.
Red Cat Adventures will deliver the Pure Escape project, which is estimated to add 5600 tourists and about $1.9 million into the local economy each year.
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the government would partner with Mackay-based cruise company Pure Escape to introduce a new full-day tour to nearby Cockermouth Island in the South Cumberland Islands.
She said the government would invest almost $1 million in the project to help the economy recover.
"Tourism is vital for Mackay's economy. This industry has taken a real hit during the coronavirus pandemic," she said.
"We're partnering with the private sector to deliver new attractions that will boost our tourism industry and create local jobs.
"This project will offer tourists an exceptional all-inclusive, eco-friendly day tour on the company's 17m custom-built catamaran to view these hidden treasures off the coast of Mackay.
"The catamaran will have the capacity to accommodate 40 people on each tour.
"Another objective in supporting this project is to create more reason for tourists to stay and explore the city of Mackay and surrounding attractions such as Cape Hillsborough.
"This is a game-changer for Mackay."
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new project would create six jobs to build the catamaran and 16 operational jobs once complete.
"Having new attractions ready to go for when more tourists can return to Queensland is an important part of our plan to rebuild Mackay's economy," she said.
"We're working hard to rebuild Queensland's economy and create jobs."
Mackay Tourism chief executive officer Tas Webber said Pure Escape represented an exciting opportunity to add to Mackay's flourishing tourism industry.
"The Mackay region is continuing its rise as a tourism destination, with over a million visitors a year seeking out our unique nature-based experiences," he said.
"The Pure Escape tour will build upon Mackay's tourism appeal and further strengthen the economic recovery of our industry.
"Investing in the spectacular islands and reefs of the South Cumberland island group is a significant win our industry, our economy and the Mackay community.
"Tours and access to the islands off Mackay has long been missed by visitors and locals alike. It is very reassuring, therefore, to see investment starting to be delivered."
Red Cat Adventures owners Asher and Julie Telford said they were excited to start building the Pure Escape product.
"We've always been looking to expand our tourism business into other regions and we're ecstatic that we get to do this in the beautiful Cumberland Islands off Mackay," they said.
"We are incredibly proud and extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to grow our business in Mackay due to the Growing Tourism Infrastructure grant.
"We didn't think the Pure Escape project would be possible and this grant has made our dreams come true.
"Just as we have done with our multinational award-winning touring business Red Cat Adventures, we're looking forward to welcoming the local community, Queensland, Australia and, once possible, the world to join us to experience the spectacular Mackay Region."