A $25 MILLION eco resort in Riordanvale has been approved with the potential to tap in to a different tourism market.
Ozone Whitsundays Eco Resort on Sugarloaf Road, has been given the green light by Whitsunday Regional Council and is expected to be operational by 2012.
The plans include 63 villas which will accommodate up to 200 people in four-star quality.
There will be a boutique fauna park, a conference centre, pavilion, amphitheatre, a high ropes course, two tennis courts, two beach volleyball courts and an outdoor cinema.
A restaurant and general store will also be on site.
Owners Wendy Bradley and Chris Weigand are no strangers to the industry.
They owned and operated Whitsunday Quad Bike Bush Adventures at the site where the resort will be developed.
The couple said the planning of the project had been two years in the making and now it was ready for lift-off.
“We have been living and breathing it for the last couple of years,” Ms Bradley said.
“We are trying to create something where there is a gap in the market and we want to make that contribution to the [tourism] industry.”
Ms Bradley said the resort would have a strong focus on conservation and education and, although being a four-star retreat, hoped to attract school and research groups as well as other guests.
The construction will also have a green focus by incorporating solar power, environmentally friendly building materials and rain water tanks on the property.
Enterprise Whitsundays chief executive Andrei Koeppen said he welcomed positive developments like this to the Whitsundays.
“This is the kind of development the region needs,” he said.
“I think what we need to develop are more attractions inland.”
Ms Bradley and Mr Weigand believed they chose the right time for development despite the current state of the tourism industry.
“Yes, our economy is flat and yes, our tourism is flat but in two years time we'll be on the rise,” Ms Bradley said.
“You want to plan when it is flat and then catch the next wave.”
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