New attractions in Albany proving a hit with tourists
New tourist attractions in Albany are moving the region to the forefront of tourists’ attention, according to Tourism Council boss Evan Hall.
Albany, which hosted this year’s WA regional tourism conference, has had several key tourist infrastructure works open in the past eight years, including the National Anzac Centre and the upgraded Gap and Natural Bridge.
After opening in 2014, the National Anzac Centre attracted more than 130,000 visitors in its first year and won several awards, including a place in Lonely Planet’s top 26 new travel experiences.
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The Gap and Natural Bridge has attracted more than 300,000 visitors since being upgraded last year at a cost of $6.1 million. Visitors can watch waves slamming against granite cliffs and feel the salty spray.
The lookout rises almost 40m above sea level and stretches 10m out from a precipice — 4m of which is above the ocean.
“The National Anzac Centre and the Gap and Natural Bridge visitor experience are world-class tourist attractions that are really bringing the amazing south coast to the fore for international visitors,” Mr Hall said. “They’re looking for attractions that ... provide a very accessible experience for what is the unique values of those destinations.
“That’s the key point of an attraction — it makes the coast accessible, it makes the history accessible and the amazing south coast is doing a great job of pulling those attractions together and presenting themselves as a great place to visit.”
He said successful tourist regions built attractions around the natural environment or an area’s history or culture. “What you need is a great attraction that’s very accessible so the visitors can see what the destination has to offer and can see themselves doing that experience.”
Albany mayor Dennis Wellington said the city had benefited greatly from the boost in tourists, driven by the attractions, with a focus on enticing them to stay longer in the region.
Mr Hall said other projects around WA, including the Kalbarri Skywalk, due to open next year, and the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, were other examples of regional attractions.
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