Eden’s future as an eco-tourism destination trekked one step closer this week with the announcement on Monday by NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker of a new eco-tourism venture involving the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Auswide Services, offering supported tours along the popular Light to Light walk south of Eden.
“The bold new venture would open up new camping, bushwalking and sea kayaking opportunities with specialist guides providing expert advice and assistance,” Ms Parker said.
The minister said guided walks between Ben Boyd Tower and Green Cape Lighthouse were a productive and sustainable use of the landscape and would boost the local economy.
“Auswide Services has a track record of creating local job opportunities and empowering Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians and I am delighted they are now an ecotourism partner in the Light to Light walk,” the minister said.
Ms Parker said the new Light to Light walk partnership involving NPWS is the Government’s latest initiative to build on the State’s multi-billion dollar eco-tourism industry by making parks more accessible to visitors.
“The Light to Light walk is one of the many reasons our State’s national parks receive around 34.6 million domestic visits each year and an estimated 3 million international visitors.”
Under this latest eco-tourism venture, by early next year visitors tackling the Light to Light walk will no longer have to carry three days’ worth of provisions and camping gear because of guided support, new low-impact camping at Mowarry Point and farther south at Bittangabee.
Ms Parker said Auswide Services and NPWS recently agreed on the detail of the ecotourism project and an intent to lease with more information available for public comment by the end of the year.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the people of the Far South Coast welcomed the opportunity to share their magnificent coastline.
“People around Eden appreciate job opportunities and I have every faith Auswide Services will work with Parks to give the local economy a real boost,” Mr Constance said.
“Tourism and particularly eco-tourism offer a great future for workers and business operators on the Far South Coast and the new Light to Light walk will set a fine example for the State.”
Auswide Services CEO Kevin Stevens says the company is in discussions with sea kayaking guides and recruiting specialised bushwalking guides for the Light to Light walk.
“We are excited about the Light to Light walk and one arm of our involvement will be to work with local Aboriginal land councils to hire and train guides with traditional knowledge of this unique coastal environment,” Mr Stevens said.
Partnering with Auswide Services for the Light to Light walk is one way the Office of Environment and Heritage is increasing visitation to National Parks and stimulating new business opportunities.