Call for changes at Cradle

DIRECT car access to Cradle Mountain national park would be closed, as part of a radical industry plan to make over the visitor experience at the state's major attraction.

The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania said the major attraction needed $20 million of state and Commonwealth government funding to replace the "badly degraded" park centre with a new visitor centre, which would help attract private investment in new tourism ventures.

"Cradle Mountain is a jewel that has seriously been under-invested in for what it delivers for the industry," TICT chief executive Luke Martin said.

A report commissioned by the TICT on ecotourism opportunities in the state proposes closing off the road that leads to Dove Lake and require visitors to board shuttle buses at the park entrance or encourage them to cycle or walk in.

Instead of tourists driving down to Dove Lake and being greeted with a car park, the area would be rehabilitated with a viewing area that is "stunning in design and environmentally sustainable".

The report also recommends creating a new "overnight taste of the overland experience" for visitors not prepared to embark on the multi-day trek, and developing more cycling tracks.

It is estimated a new visitor centre, including a privately operated cafe, could attract up to 40,000 extra visitors to the world heritage area and generate $14.4 million in new spending.

Mr Martin said it was time to act on plans for a new visitor centre that had been on the drawing board for more than 10 years.

The state government has called for expressions of interest from commercial operators with ideas for ecotourism developments in national parks and World Heritage areas.

However, Mr Martin said the government should not rely on a private developer to implement some of the ideas.


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