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Proserpine
Friday, April 19, 2024

Project to transform region

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AN EXCITING and ambitious project is set to revitalise the Whitsundays and, in particular, Airlie Beach.

The planning for Whitsunday Skyway Project has progressed significantly and is now in the Detailed Assessment stage of an Exclusive Transaction Process with the Queensland State Government.

The Project is based around a 1km cable car ride to a summit 430m above sea level, in the Conway National Park, overlooking Airlie Beach. 

The all-weather cable car will move along at a height of 430m and offer a unique 360° vantage point to the Whitsunday Islands, Whitsundays mainland and the Coral Sea, with bistro, café and viewing facilities at the top.

There are also plans for a cultural interpretive centre, tropical rainforest activities and experiences, a network of mountain biking trails, a luge track facility, and a junior ropes course.

Proponent Australian Adventure Tourism Group (AATG) has spent years researching and planning the project, including detailed projections of visitor numbers and predicted income, with the project expected to ‘stimulate new interest in the region’.

“Whitsunday Skyway will expand on, and complement current Whitsunday Tourism operations, offering greatly needed land-based infrastructure and activities for current and future tourism groups, regional residents, school groups, coach tours and other market segments,” AATG executive chair Elizabeth Hackett said.

“A final investment decision is due to be made in late 2024, including pre-development activities, such as the ongoing planning and environmental approvals and project design, as well as the cost of acquiring land, that has already been secured, outside the Conway National Park.”

It is estimated that there are a further 12-18 months of the planning and development approval stage, and an additional six months for detailed designs to be drawn up.

The construction time for the development is estimated at 18 to 24 months, from the time formal planning and government approvals are in place.

Once approved, it is estimated the project – which will be the first and only piece of mainland infrastructure that can host More than 500 tourists undercover and over 1,000 per day in peak season – will create 140 new direct jobs on completion, and 591 indirect jobs (full-time and part-time).

The economic impact is estimated to be around $38.4m of new tourism spending, per year, with current analysis showing that more than 250,000 people are expected to visit the Skyway every year.

The total project development cost on completion is expected to be about $86m.  

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