One of South Australia’s most iconic tourism destinations at Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges will undergo a $3 million transformation and take on new management to improve the visitor experience, increase patronage and in turn create local jobs for the region.
NRMA Parks and Resorts, which is one of Australia’s largest transport and tourism operators, has been appointed resort manager for South Australia’s iconic Indigenous-owned Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges.
The $3 million joint investment by the state government and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) will transform the visitor experience with works to start in the coming months.
Director Tourism and Economic Development Jo Podoliak said the Flinders Ranges and outback offers a truly unique visitor experience for tourists from across Australia and, when global travels begins again, for people from across the world.
“This $3 million joint investment will reposition Wilpena Pound Resort at Ikara Flinders Rangers National Park to a world-leading Indigenous cultural destination, improving the visitor experience, and creating local jobs,” Jo said.
“NRMA is one of Australia’s most respected tourism operators and improved infrastructure will further enhance the region as an internationally recognised iconic tourism destination.
“This investment to upgrade critical infrastructure will also create unique experiences that showcase the cultural and natural aspects of the national park and improve infrastructure for overnight and day visitors.
“This region is home to a range of unique world-class experiences including some areas which are currently being considered for World Heritage status.”
NRMA Parks and Resorts Chief Executive Officer Paul Davies said his organisation is proud to have been selected to partner with South Australia’s iconic Indigenous-owned Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges and the South Australian Government.
“NRMA Parks and Resorts brings to the partnership its well-known expertise in the successful and sensitive operation of 44 holiday parks and resorts across Australia, with the backing of Australia’s largest and most-trusted member organisation, the NRMA,” Mr Davies said.
“We’re looking forward to showcasing the amazing Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park to our members and to those travelling to discover Australia’s great regional destinations.
“And we are excited to support the vision of the Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha people, IBA and the South Australian Government for Ikara Wilpena Pound to become the premier Indigenous experience in the country.”
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is co-managed with the Traditional Owners of the land, the Adnyamathanha people.
The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association in joint venture with IBA, bought the resort in 2012. Since then IBA worked with the Traditional Owners to create opportunities for local employment in the tourism industry, focusing on celebrating and sharing local culture.
Under the owners’ guidance the resort went from zero to 60% Aboriginal employment in five years, creating a substantial investment in the region.