A proposed new multi-million dollar tourism attraction will mean more visitors than ever can experience the natural beauty of the Cataract Gorge, the project's proponents say.
Announced on Thursday, a $20 million Launceston Skyway project would see a cableway built in the Gorge for 24 accessible glass gondolas.
The project is being spearheaded by the Larter family, owners of the Gorge Scenic Chairlift.
General manager David Larter said they were very excited about the project, which had been in the development phase for about three years.
"We have worked through this process and at every stage, we've asked the question - can this work?" he said.
"That's why we have completed the [environmental impact reports], that's why we have done the Deloitte report, that's why no one has known about this.
"We wanted to be confident, within ourselves, that this would be viable."
Mr Larter said they had begun throwing around ideas for some time about improving the chairlift experience. They saw footage of a gondola in a Swedish zoo and thought something similar could work for the Gorge.
"It would keep out of the way of what normal people do in the Gorge - swim and run and play - and it's quite easy to access," he said.
"We do need to have easier access for all abilities and for people in wheelchairs."
The skyway would be one of only three of its kind in the world, including the gondola in Sweden and one in Macau.
Steps were taken to minimise the project's structural footprint and visual impact, to preserve cultural and historic heritage, and protect flora and fauna.
The skyway station would be based at the Basin Road entrance. The approximate trip time would be 25 minutes.
The existing chairlift would remain in operation.
ARTAS managing director Scott Curran said the skyway would give some visitors an opportunity to visit some parts of the Gorge they previously couldn't access.
"Wheelchair access has been one of the key drivers behind this project," he said.
"It's really easy for people to access other areas of the Gorge through bikes and running and walking, but if you're elderly or you have an impairment it makes it very, very difficult.
"What this proposal will do is give people an opportunity to access that area visually, and get some of those views that were not available to them."
Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said an innovative development such as the skyway was certainly going to increase both visitor's stays and spending in Launceston.
"Built visitor attractions are important for us to be able to give reasons for people to stay longer, and we know that our natural attractions are highly appealing," he said.
Mr Griffin said the state's natural environment was one of the key reasons visitors came to Tasmania, and gondolas and tramways were great ways of accessing the wilderness in ways they feel comfortable.
Alongside this, having a gondola in the Gorge would improve the visitor experience for those with accessibility issues.
"It will attract more people to the Gorge," he said.
"This type of development will allow more people to enjoy the Gorge in an intelligent, sustainable way."
State Growth Minister Peter Gutwein said the project would be a game changer for Launceston.
"It would be a tourism drawcard in its own right and would build on the reputation the city is fast becoming known for as one of the most progressive and exciting places to live in the country," he said.
"Launceston's Gorge and First Basin are among the most visited locations in Tasmania and are unique given their close proximity to the city.
"This proposal would build on that while delivering a project which will have a minimal environmental footprint and would be a major tourist attraction for the city."
A development application for the project is yet to be lodged with the City of Launceston council.
If approved, construction on the project would take about nine months and would take place during slower periods to minimise visitor impact.
The project will be privately funded and is expected to create multiple full-time jobs.
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