Despite challenging delays, the $20 million Mossman Gorge Centre is finally nearing completion with managers expecting to commence operation on 1 May.
While access to the Mossman Gorge road will be restricted to traffic between the hours of 8am and 6pm every day, Director of Sales for the centre, Philip Newland, said the impact on locals, and local tour operators has been taken into consideration.
“We’re working closely with all of them (tour operators) now to work out the new procedures.
“With the tour operators they’ll have priority when they come in with their coach, they’ll drop the people off at the centre and then they will be ferried through,” he said.
He added that electric shuttle buses will take people, including locals, to the Gorge which attracts around 500,000 visitors each year at a cost of $4.80 per person, but residents of the Douglas region will be able to travel for free.
Bike hire will also be available for those who want to travel under their own steam.
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Mr Newland said feedback he’s received from tour operators has been positive.
“The ones I have met with have been positive. There are some old ones that ditched the Gorge a while back and now they are looking at coming back in.”
He said one particular tour operator from Cairns will be looking to amend their itinerary to allow more time at the Gorge.
On completion the centre will house an art gallery, gift shop, cafe, and accommodation for up to 18 students who can stay on site to complete their chosen accredited course in fields such as tourism, hospitality, and landscaping.
Mr Newland said the centre presents a fantastic opportunity for indigenous employment in the region.
“We have 37 indigenous employees and in the high season we hope to go up to about 70,” Mr Newland said.
Article courtesy of The Newsport.