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Nationals track and trail policy to boost tourism in region

The Nationals WA have launched a plan to extend the Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track to Esperance, transforming WA’s south coast into one of the world’s premier nature-based tourism destinations.

In Albany to launch the plan at today’s Albany Trail Town Workshop, Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman said the south coast offered a unique opportunity to develop trails and tracks.

“This stretch of coastline provides the perfect landscape to generate iconic nature-based tourism experiences that grow businesses, employment opportunities and showcase this pristine natural environment,” he said.

“Nature-based tourism provides a range of social, educational, economic and health outcomes and is widely documented to benefit communities that embrace it.”

Mr Redman said communities such as Wellstead, Boxwood Hill, Bremer Bay and Hopetoun could develop businesses and infrastructure to help boost the burgeoning industry.

“Demand for this style of activity, particularly from those visiting Australia from abroad, continues to rise as people seek out more adventure, exercise and challenging experiences associated with leisure and travel,” he said.

“The Nationals are committed to using Royalties for Regions funding to develop world class hiking and mountain bike tracks, promoting awareness and appreciation of the natural environment in lock-step with economic opportunities.”

In the year ending June 2016 almost 70 per cent – the equivalent of 5 million travellers – of  international visitors to Australia engaged in some form of nature-based activity.

Trail development has been lauded with saving the economies of some regional towns, with Derby in Tasmania recently highlighted for the economic boost downhill mountain biking brought to its community.

The Nationals sport and recreation spokesman and Member for Roe Peter Rundle said recreational trails extending to Esperance would complement the existing Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track.

“The Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun experiences are world-renowned, however, there is scope to extend and complement them with myriad others in national parks and beyond to create a vibrant network of tracks and trails in the region,” he said.

“We’ve seen a recent proliferation of nature-based activity in the area with the Albany Urban Downhill event attracting a wide competitor and spectator base and recent establishment of Denmark Mountain Bike Club.

“The Nationals WA are keen to make the most of this opportunity for the benefit of regional communities and gain valuable exposure for our amazing south coast.”