Going wild over $150 million regional tourism boost

A taste of the Serengeti is coming straight to Dubbo thanks to a $20 million investment from the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund.  

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the project is one of 30 projects across the State that will receive a share in $150 million from Round Two of the Regional Tourism Activation Fund to develop high impact tourism and events infrastructure to attract visitors to the regions.

“We know regional NSW has Australia’s best tourist destinations and experiences. We want to amplify that by helping create new experiences and drawcards that put more heads on beds and attract more tourism dollars into regional communities,” Mr Toole said.

“At Taronga Western Plains Zoo, it will see the construction of a large-scale Serengeti Plains Exhibit, 20 premium eco-cabins and a new two-story café, restaurant and function centre complete with a pool and playground for the whole family to enjoy.”

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said investments like this benefit the entire Central West region.

“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is already home to award-winning accommodation and visitor experiences, and this funding will build on that with the Serengeti Visitor Experience,” Mr Saunders said

“We know visitors will also take in our region’s other attractions, grab a bite to eat at our restaurants and cafes, pop into local businesses and travel further afield to nearby towns and villages.

“We already know how great regional NSW is – the Regional Tourism Activation Fund helps us spread that message far and wide while encouraging even more visitors to travel beyond the big smoke.”

Dubbo Mayor Matthew Dickerson said it’s an exciting partnership between Council and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“The exciting vision of this project aligns with Council’s aim for the Dubbo Region to be the number one inland tourism destination in NSW and increase the 1.65 million people that visit the Dubbo Region annually,” Mr Dickerson said.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director Steve Hinks said it’s an exciting time for the wider region. 

“This project is an absolute game changer for Taronga Western Plains Zoo and tourism in Central Western NSW. It will firmly cement Dubbo as the number one family holiday destination in Australia,” Mr Hinks said.

Mr Toole said the Regional Tourism Activation Fund will see significant investment in projects that are accessible and inclusive for everyone to ensure all visitors to regional NSW have unforgettable experiences that encourages return visits.

“We want everyone to be able to experience what the regions have to offer, which is why this round is also funding accessibility upgrades such as wheelchair ramps, elevators and viewing platforms,” Mr Toole said.

The $150 million funding builds on $30 million invested through Round one which is investing in more than30 projects across the State including the redevelopment of the Royal Flying Doctor Outback Heritage Experience at Broken Hill and full-sized replica “Graceland” gates constructed in Parkes. The $180 million Regional Tourism Activation Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to support growing regional centres, activate local economies and improve services and community infrastructure for regional communities.

For more information, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/RTAFund.

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