POTENTIAL BOOM: More funding into marketing the croc watching with Whitsunday Crocodile Safari could hold the key to improving the tourism market in Proserpine.
POTENTIAL BOOM: More funding into marketing the croc watching with Whitsunday Crocodile Safari could hold the key to improving the tourism market in Proserpine. Steve Watson

Ideas in Proserpine to snap up tourists

THE hundreds of crocodiles that cruise the waters of the Proserpine River may be the key to unlocking huge tourism potential for the region.

For Proserpine Chamber of Commerce secretary Karen Vloedmans, she believes the scores of salties should be better marketed and celebrated to draw in the cruise passengers from Airlie Beach.

"There's the biggest concentration (of crocodiles here) than any river system in Queensland," Ms Vloedmans told Acting Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek and Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan during a visit last week.

"There could be a hub of something to that effect. Not hide it away, open it up and celebrate it because tourists love it."

Ms Vloedmans said while some cruise ship passengers are brought out to experience the crocodile safari, there needed to be marketing on a bigger scale so other hotspots along the Bruce Hwy could benefit.

"The cruise ship market is such a wonderful market for Airlie as it should be, and we know the coffee shop benefits, the museum benefits, as do the croc tours… it's a wonderful market, but let's grow the experience to keep them here longer," she said.

"Instead of that one hour offering (for cruise ship passengers), let's expand it to two or three hours of on shore activity and just grow. There's just so much product development happening and that's what we as a chamber are trying to drive.

"At the end of the day we need to provide more reasons to have that wonderful gift of the Bruce Hwy to anchor people here and give them a reason to stop. I don't think they haven't been thought of but that they haven't been pushed and driven until you get a result."

Owner of Whitsunday Crocodile Safari Steve Watson said there was a lot more to the Whitsundays than reef and islands.

He said the reason for the hinterland around Proserpine being over looked by travellers to the Whitsundays is many don't know what it has to offer.

"Its all about awareness and advertising," he said.

Whitsunday Crocodile Safari operates a two hour cruise that enables passengers to see some of the 200 adult crocodiles that inhabit the river.

Farm tours to grow tourism

PADDOCK to plate farm tours and the authentic north Queensland sugar town experience are some of the ideas to help Proserpine boom.

The Proserpine and Whitsunday Coast chambers of commerce met with Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan and Acting Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek last week.

Mr Langbroek said words like diversity helped regions get on the right track to turn around any business downturn and spoke about how Airlie and Proserpine could work together.

Whitsunday Coast Chamber president Kevin Collins said Proserpine had the opportunity to promote an "authentic and different product".

"The right kind of authentic North Queensland sugar town experience would be really, really popular," he said.

"Paddock to plate and seasonal farm tours in Bowen will be great if it gets going and is done properly," Mr Collins said.

"People are interested in where their food is grown."

Crocodile facts

  •  The Australian saltwater crocodile can survive in salt water but prefers fresh and brackish water
  •  Australian saltwater crocodiles are the largest reptile in the world and can weigh as much as 1000kg
  •  They can travel over 1000km by sea which explains their wide distribution throughout Australia's north

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