A wildlife experience putting campers up close and personal with the inhabitants of Australia Zoo is expected to lure some 39,000 tourists to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from 2020.
The $8 Camp Croc Hunter initiative announced this week by Queensland tourism minister Kate Jones involves 108 campsites along with permanent glamping tents and eco cabins supported by a village cafe, entertainment and pool area, amenities blocks, group facilities and a mountain bike course.
The zoo made famous by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and his wife, Terri and children Bindi and Robert will commemorate its 50th anniversary with the opening of Camp Croc Hunter in 2020.
Terri Irwin welcomed the state government’s commitment of funding through its Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which was established to partner with operators to build attractions likely to bring substantial domestic and international visitation to a region.
“When the project is fully operational, it’s expected to attract more than 39,000 annual visitors and contribute up to $4.5 million in visitor expenditure a year to the region,” said Ms Jones.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford argued the Irwin’s worldwide recognition would ensure the new project would provide a major boost for the Sunshine Coast region.
“The exciting expansion of camping and glamping accommodation will not only entice more visitors but also convert day-trip visitors to stay longer and spend more,” he said.
“There is a great appetite for new-style camping accommodation, especially when associated with authentic experiences such as Australia Zoo.
“This new concept will attract a wide audience from families through to incentive groups.
“We really appreciate the support of the Queensland government for seeding such vital tourism accommodation infrastructure projects, and given that Camp Croc Hunter is scheduled to open in the 50th year of Australia Zoo’s operation, it will be a fitting tribute to the incredible contribution the Irwins have made to the region since launching the Zoo in 1970.”
The family employs more than 440 staff members alongside a cohort of 165 regular volunteers and attracts more than 800,000 visitors to the park annually.
Terri, Bindi and Robert were presented with an Australian Tourism Legend Award at the Australian Tourism Awards in March in recognition of their long-term contribution to the industry, awards chair Daniel Gschwind saying: “The Irwins truly are Queensland and Australian tourism legends.”