(Source: Jeremy Pierce, Gold Coast Bulletin, January 2024)
A spectacular new $86m SkyWay featuring a cable car, downhill luge, mountain bike trails, ropes course and dining is being proposed for one of Queensland’s biggest tourist destinations.
It’s the ultimate window to the Whitsundays.
A Queensland tourism operator is in discussions with the State government to deliver a spectacular attraction perched high above the Whitsundays, which would feature a cable car, downhill luge, mountain bike trails, junior ropes courses, dining and hospitality facilities and access to bushwalking trails.
The brainchild of the Australian Adventure Tourism Group, the concept was first mooted more than 20 years ago, but the process has ramped up with the project now in the detailed assessment stage under the Queensland Government’s Exclusive Transactions Framework.
Called the Whitsunday SkyWay, the project would be based at Airlie Beach and has an estimated construction cost of $86 million, with projections it would draw up to 250,000 visitors annually, delivering an economic impact of more than $25 million a year.
Local tourism leaders are behind the project, after operators identified a shortage of land-based attractions in a region already rich with water activities.
The precinct would have room for up to 500 visitors under cover on an observation deck with dazzling views of the Whitsundays and be able to accommodate 1000 people a day.
Investors are currently being sought for some of the development funding requirements to complement existing commitments for the construction phase of the project.
Australian Adventure Tourism Group Director Nathan Leman said he was confident the project would be a strong addition to the region’s tourism offerings.
“The business case for the SkyWay is very strong and draws on and establishes a wide range of attractive visitor segments and value-adding adventure activities that are currently not available in the region,” he said.
Australian Adventure Tourism Group Executive Chairwoman Elizabeth Hackett said the SkyWay would be a magnet for visitors.
“Many visitors are expected to make a dedicated trip to visit Airlie Beach and the SkyWay for its adventure activities including mountain bikes and family activities,” she said.
“This landmark not only promises to extend stays in the Whitsundays but also ensures that each person that travels to the Whitsunday SkyWay summit will return a better world citizen.”
If given state government approval, the project would generate an estimated 400 full-time jobs during a construction period of up to two years, with 140 direct jobs once operational.
Further background information from the project proponents: https://www.aatgroup.com.au/