The Northern Rivers region will benefit from over $1 million in grant funding toward three seperate tourism development projects announced by the Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson this week.

The TQUAL Grants Program is an Australian Government initiative which puts a premium on innovation, quality and economic benefit from tourism.

$500,000 in TQUAL grants have been provided to assist the development of a strong and vibrant tourism brand for the Legendary Pacific Coast Touring Route, spanning the east coast of NSW from Sydney to the Queensland border.

The Pacific Coast Touring Route is an incorporated association of four NSW North Coast Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) including Northern Rivers Tourism, Central Coast Tourism, Mid North Coast Tourism and Hunter Tourism.

The four RTOs will contribute financially, along with the tourism industry, to the project, which includes tourist signposting, website development, brand development and communications, innovation and technology development and project management.

The project outcomes will be to stimulate additional domestic travellers and deliver more international visitors to the region and encourage length of stay, yield and dispersal.

Clarence Valley Council has secured $500,000 in TQUAL grant funds to develop a series of new and distinctive product options and experiences to realise the nature/adventure tourism potential of the Clarence River.

Funding will be used towards the development of camping and canoe access sites in the upper river, development of a kayak and canoe guide, a guide to cruising and sailing on the Clarence, the development of a riverfront precinct concept plan for Grafton and interpretive sculpture at key locations and a marketing program.

Clarence Valley Council makes up nearly 52% of the Northern Rivers region by area.

Alstonville-based attraction Amaze N Place has secured $10,000 for a feasibility study to investigate the expansion of the popular and unique family attraction. 

The expansion is planned to include educational and entertaining hands-on displays, optical examples of mental illusions, and weird science displays that will challenge perceptions of reality. It will host school excursions, tour buses and expert speakers.

These grant funds acknowledge the innovation, quality and economic benefits at the heart of these projects, says NRT CEO Russell Mills.

“The grant funds were announced as part of the Federal Minister’s announcement of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy, so the message is clear that these are the kind of projects that are seen as contributing to the future of tourism,” he said.

“NRT is a financial contributor to the Legendary Pacific Coast Project, so the TQUAL grants will be a significant boost to implementing our destination development and marketing strategies.

“This corridor is incredibly important to the livelihoods of tourism operators from Sydney to Brisbane, so we look forward to collaborating with industry partners wanting to work with us on this exciting project.”