What started as a casual conversation at the Top Pub in Pambula late last year is now the Sapphire Coast’s latest tourism venture.
Light 2 Light Coastal Walks was officially launched to an intimate audience at Pambula’s Longstocking Brewery on Friday, with guests including Bega MP Andrew Constance and Sapphire Coast Tourism chair Bruce Leaver.
The venture offers guided and self-guided walks along the famous Light to Light walk between Boyd’s Tower and Green Cape Lighthouse in Ben Boyd National Park and is a partnership between Paul and Liz Pincini, Tim Shepherd and Penny Hambling.
Mr Shepherd, who worked as a regional manager with NSW National Parks for about 17 years, said tapping into the overseas market was high on the agenda.
“In three years time we’d like to have a strong, viable business that is part of the nature-based tourism on the Sapphire Coast,” he said.
Both Mr Shepherd and Mr Pincini also highlighted their desire to engage with the local Aboriginal community to provide guided tours.
“The Light to Light walk has a really rich cultural heritage, so having the local Aboriginal people being able to speak about their culture would be a really good thing,” Mr Shepherd said.
The pair also said it would work with other local tourism providers and producers.
Mr Leaver said Australia’s number one tourism draw card was its native appeal, followed by journeys and the coast.
“We have all of them in spades,” Mr Leaver said.
“You have to sell what makes you outstanding.”
He referred to the opportunities provided to local tourism providers thanks to the direct access to Asia’s middle class market via the Canberra Airport, as well as the cruise ships arriving at Eden.
Eden Chamber of Commerce president and Light to Light Camps owner Jenny Robb welcomed the new tourism business.
”We don’t see Paul and Tim’s business as being in direct competition, we see it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the experiences you can have down here,” Ms Robb said.
”We’re starting to get some interest from overseas and seeing a more year-round market rather than just the Christmas holidays.”
Ms Robb, who also runs Kiah Wilderness Tours with her husband Arthur, praised Sapphire Coast Tourism for their tireless efforts in raising the local profile.
“There’s been a lot of work done in the background for the past 10 years,” she said.
“This place has been here forever, but people needed to know it was here.
“It’s great to see more and more people coming to see it.”
Light 2 Light Coastal Walks will start its first tours in October.