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Feasibility study gives Tasman walk the thumbs-up


The development of a world-class bushwalk track on the Tasman Peninsula has moved a step closer, with a feasibility study released yesterday strongly endorsing the project.

Launching the 'Three Capes Track' study, Premier Paul Lennon said the next move would be to amend the Tasman National Park Management Plan and this would provide the community with further opportunity for involvement in the proposal.

Mr Lennon said the $100,000 Parks and Wildlife Service feasibility study confirmed the project had great potential and would ultimately lead to:
· 35 direct jobs in the Tasman region;
· $18.6 million in additional visitor spending;
· 10,000 walkers a year using the track; and
· 50,000 extra bed nights on the peninsula.
"The study confirms there is strong interest among bushwalkers in this project and that it would bring significant economic benefits to the Tasman Peninsula," Mr Lennon said.

"The 'Three Capes Track' fits perfectly within the State Government's policy of supporting sustainable tourism initiatives that will help build stronger regional communities.

"We knew from the outset that this was a very special piece of Tasmania with great tourism potential. It's fantastic that the feasibility study has borne out our optimism.

"The challenge now is to engage the community with a view to developing plans for this eco-sensitive development."

Tasmania welcomed around 810,000 visitors last year, up from around 500,000 when the Government came to office in 1998.

The Tasman Peninsula was found to be the best of 18 sites considered for the development of a new iconic walk to keep visitor numbers growing.
The feasibility study involved three key components: an assessment of possible routes and a concept plan; market research to assess demand; and a thorough business case analysis based on the successful Overland Track model.

Tourism Minister Paula Wriedt said development of the track was an opportunity for Tasmania to be a world leader in iconic walks.

"We know that 230,000 tourists visited the Tasman Peninsula last year and there is great potential for growth in the region," Ms Wriedt said.

"Also, around 50 per cent of people who visited Tasmania last year (410,000 people) took part in some form of bushwalk or visited a National Park, reserve or conservation area.

"So the 'Three Capes Track' would be a spectacular way of meeting visitor demand for this type of experience.

"The vision for the project is that it would be Australia's premier coastal bushwalking experience, with a combined land and water adventure incorporating capes Hauy, Pillar and Raoul.

"It would build on the iconic cultural heritage of the nearby Port Arthur Historic Site by highlighting the Peninsula's spectacular, rugged coastline."
The track would also help achieve the objectives of the Tasman Tourism Development Plan 2005-2008.

The Premier and Minister also announced a further boost to Tasman Peninsula tourism, with a funding package of $1.3 million to upgrade car parks and walking tracks in the Pirates Bay and Tasman Arch area.

"In partnership with the Tasman community, the Parks and Wildlife Service developed a vision and site plan for the Blowhole and Tasman Arch area and this funding will provide for the priority improvements to these areas that were highlighted by the community," Mr Lennon said.

The key improvements include:
· The two existing car parks (near the jetty and at the Blowhole) at Pirates Bay will be redesigned, sealed and marked to improve safety and visitor amenity issues;
· A new car park for 20 cars and 35 cars and boat trailers (equivalent to 90 cars) will be developed near the existing Blowhole car park; and
· At Tasman Arch - Devils Kitchen, the existing road and car parks will be removed, rehabilitated and replaced by a new loop road, new toilet and information area and new gravel car park for 40 cars.

Ms Wriedt said the funding would be provided to the Tasman Council and be managed by a project team including the Parks and Wildlife Service and community representatives.

The works are scheduled to be completed next year. Amendments to the Tasman National Park Management Plan as part of the 'Three Capes Track' proposal are expected to take up to a year and will include opportunity for community involvement.

Feasibility study gives Tasman walk the thumbs-up

The stunning coastal scenery of the Tasman Peninsula coast will feature in the proposed Three Capes Track.