Building the case for zoo expansion

The Dubbo region could soon be home to a world-leading tourism and hospitality Centre of Excellence, thanks to a significant investment from the NSW Government.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has today announced $490,000 for Dubbo Regional Council and Taronga Western Plains Zoo to develop a business case for further expansions at the zoo, including a tourism and hospitality vocational training centre.

“We know the Dubbo zoo is home to world-leading experts in conservation and veterinary medicine, but it’s also an award-winning accommodation provider, and Taronga is a registered training organisation,” Mr Saunders said.

“More than 300,000 tourists flock here every year, but this project has the potential to make Dubbo the number one destination for young people seeking an exciting and rewarding career in tourism and hospitality – two skillsets which are in very high demand at the moment.

“This funding will really lay the groundwork, and I commend Dubbo Regional Council and Taronga Western Plains Zoo for their collaboration on this landmark project!”

Dubbo Regional Council Mayor Mathew Dickerson welcomed the funding for the business case, saying it is another great partnership between Dubbo Regional Council and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a key attraction for the Dubbo region, and this is another opportunity for it to engage people who visit and keep them and their skills in the region,” Councillor Dickerson said.

“The project aligns with one of Council’s objectives for the Dubbo region; to be the number one inland destination in NSW, and further increase the 1.65 million people that visit the Dubbo region annually.

“This business case will assist the zoo in developing the project and look at the expansion of the zoo for the future.”

The funding follows on from the announcement of the Serengeti Visitor Experience Project (Stage 1), which included a $20 million investment from the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo director Steve Hinks said the key focus of Stage 2 is a tourism and hospitality Centre of Excellence.

“The training centre will provide regional youth with the opportunity to study a variety of vocational courses right here in our award-winning zoo,” Mr Hinks said.

“This proposed Centre of Excellence has the potential to underpin the tourism and hospitality industry in regional NSW and create a pipeline of professionally trained employees for our industry.

“It is a really exciting proposal, and we are absolutely thrilled that this funding will support the development of the business case, which will also look at the potential expansion of experiential accommodation and other visitor activities at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.”

The Regional NSW – Business Case and Strategy Development Fund is part of the $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund and will help create a pipeline of investment-ready projects for future funding opportunities.

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