ENTREPRENEUR Errol Stewart wants to build a $30 million skyrail over Launceston, which he thinks would make a profit and become one of Australia's top tourist attractions.
Mr Stewart said yesterday he looked at the project several years ago and shelved it, but the state government's new tourism campaign, released this week, prompted him to have another look.
He said some public money would be needed, and the state government had indicated that it would look at it. Mr Stewart said the plan was based on the successful skyrail in Cairns, which faced a lot of environmental opposition and general negativity before being built. It has become a huge success.
Mr Stewart said his proposal offered a 12-kilometre round trip with a stop in the middle, and passengers would glide about 15 metres above the trees. He said it could start at his newly planned silo hotel, beside the North Esk River opposite the Seaport. It would head across the Tamar River and up Cataract Gorge as far as the suspension bridge.
The cableway would then turn towards Lake Trevallyn with a station at Aquatic Point, where passengers could get off.
Passengers could either take alternative (and quicker transport) back to the city or finish the loop on the skyrail back to the start-finish point.
Mr Stewart estimated the cost at $30 million and said about half of that would have to come from the state and federal governments to make it viable.
But he said he would like to build and operate the project if it could be financed, as it could run at a profit and be a success.
``It would be an iconic must-do travel destination,'' Mr Stewart said. ``The trip would take an hour, employ plenty of people (probably 50) but it would be a must-do if you came to Australia.''
He said the North badly needed a big attraction to boost tourism like the Museum of Old and New Art had done in Hobart.
The cost breakdown is: 80 towers at $250,000 (total of $20 million), two stations at $2 million (total $4 million), cable and carriage cost totalling $5 million, $1 million in other costs, for a project cost of $30 million.
Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said the government was focused on diversifying Tasmania's economy, ``by playing to our state's natural economic strengths''.
``That's why we support business through funding programs like the Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund,'' Mr O'Byrne said.
``We must focus on unique, high-quality opportunities that other parts of Australia and the world can't offer.''