10 May 2023

Push to establish a Cape York tourism body

| Samuel Davis
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TALKS to establish a dedicated tourism body for Cape York have advanced as leaders work to ease the strain on the region’s limited infrastructure.

With up to 100,000 visitors expected to travel to the Cape this year, Weipa Town Authority chair Michael Rowland said an advocacy group could help lobby for better amenities in the region.

Mr Rowland said a working group, backed by the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance, is expected to develop a proposal later this year.

“Cape York always used to be the off-road adventure and about heading off into the wild west and the wilderness,” he said.

“Those days are gone. There need to be controls to manage impacts on the environment.

“We also need areas where people can pull off and have access to toilets and rubbish facilities.”

Several tourism destinations are already under stress from high tourism numbers, the WTA chairman said.

“Places like the Pennefather beach area, which a lot of tourists go to, can’t handle the amount of pressure on it currently,” he said.

“So a management plan has to be put into place that addresses not only how to deal with tourists but to regenerate some of the areas and repair some of the damage to the environment.

“What that does is cultivate a level of respect for Cape York.

“If you look at how the Great Barrier Reef is respected, why should Cape York be any different?

“You would never tolerate the lack of resources there.

“So it’s time for the same level of respect ingrained into the DNA of tourism here.”

Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council’s acting CEO Kate Gallaway said a local tourism organisation must have a clear brief before it can be launched.

“We don’t want an entity that does what others already do out there,” she said.

“What we want is a collaboration working with Traditional Owners to get the right kind of tourists to the region who respect the country they’re coming to.”

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