HISTORIC: Merewyn Wright, Donna Van 't Hoff, David Paddon, Cr Jan Clifford and Mayor Andrew Willcox.
HISTORIC: Merewyn Wright, Donna Van 't Hoff, David Paddon, Cr Jan Clifford and Mayor Andrew Willcox. Contributed

Walk to remember the story behind Airlie

A HERITAGE Walk has begun to take shape, aiming to boost the Airlie Beach economy and provide visitors with a free, land-based activity.

After more than 18 months of planning, the members of the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach Inc have recently seen work commence on Stage 1 of the Club's Heritage Walk.

Funded through a grant from Rotary Australia, and supported by the Whitsunday Regional Council, following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the club aimed to develop a project that would generate long-term benefit for the area.

Rotarian and project manager David Paddon said the club agreed the quickest way to increase and strengthen local wealth would be to target tourism revenue, by providing a land-based activity which would encourage tourists to stay in town longer, and increase the visitor nights stay.

He said the club estimated if each visitor stayed an additional half-day, $22 million would be added to the local community.

"With our available funding we wanted to do something that would benefit out town and provide economic benefit for years to come,” he said.

"We decided on a creating a path which displays the history of the area where community members and visitors can come and walk along with their families and pick up some history along the way.”

Stage 1 includes the restoration of the original drinking well and widening of the board walk along Bicentennial Walk Way, along with seating and shade.

Stage 2 will continue to focus on local history with a compilation of historic feature, presented on an estimated 12 signs to be erected along the Bicentennial Walkway.

It is proposed the historical features to be highlighted will include stories from the Ngaro people, early explorers and settlers, first tourism initiatives, historical ships and the marine life.


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