Interest in nature-based tourism is on the rise thanks to the State Government’s $5 million Nature-based Tourism Co-investment Fund, with sites such as Cleland Wildlife Park and Myponga Reservoir Reserve experiencing a high level of interest from potential applicants.
Through the Parks 2025 investment initiative, the State Government has committed more than $130 million into revitalising parks and reserves across the state and is inviting proponents to partner in leveraging this investment to drive the visitor economy further and faster.
The Nature-based Tourism Co-investment Fund includes a range of land options as eligible locations for projects including national parks, forestry reserves and botanic gardens as well as South Australia’s reservoir reserves.
Department for Environment and Water Director for Tourism and Economic Development Jo Podoliak said there has been a high level of interest from proponents in the Nature-based Tourism Co-investment Fund.
“We already have many iconic experiences in this state but I believe there are still more opportunities to grow and reaffirm South Australia as a world-class eco-tourism destination, especially as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating 2020 bushfires,” she said.
“The $5 million Fund can provide the stimulus and support applicants need to activate or build on existing sustainable and quality tourism experiences in the state’s national parks, reservoir and forestry reserves, botanic gardens and Crown land.
“New nature-based tourism proposals should offer visitors special experiences in these natural places that nurture and broaden their environmental and cultural understanding and appreciation for conservation.”
In order to be considered, potential projects must collectively demonstrate local conservation, community and economic benefits. As part of the development of new experiences in nature, operators will contribute to conservation programs such as restoring habitats, revegetation and rewilding projects.
“Already a number of sites are experiencing a high level of interest from potential applicants such as Cleland Wildlife Park and Myponga Reservoir Reserve,” she said.
While applications for the Fund are open until June 2022, both the Department for Environment and Water and SA Water are now setting application timeframes for these high interest sites in order to assess applications together.
Interested parties are asked to submit their Fund applications for Cleland Wildlife Park by 5pm Monday 1 March 2021 and for Myponga Reservoir Reserve by 5pm Wednesday 31 March 2021. Existing applications for both sites will be included in this assessment process.
The Fund will remain open until June 2022 or until the $5 million SA Government investment is exhausted.
Applicants can seek grants from $20,000 to $1 million and are expected to contribute at least half of the total financial costs of their project.
Find out more about the Nature-based Tourism Co-investment Fund by visiting www.coinvest.parks.sa.gov.au