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South Australia boosts nature tourism with experience fund grants

RAD KI, Kangaroo Island
RAD KI, Kangaroo Island

South Australia’s Experience Nature Tourism Fund grants support 15 new projects, enhancing eco-tourism and showcasing the state’s natural beauty, with initiatives like RAD KI’s eco-tours and Aboriginal cultural experiences.

AustraliaSouth Australia has taken a significant step towards enhancing its nature tourism offerings with the announcement of the second round of Experience Nature Tourism Fund grants. Fifteen new tourism products and experiences across the state have been selected for support, showcasing South Australia’s commitment to promoting its natural landscapes and attracting both domestic and international visitors.

Enhancing Tourism through Strategic Funding
  • Second Round of Funding: The second round of the Experience Nature Tourism Fund has allocated over $464,000 in grants, bringing the total fund allocation to nearly $1 million. The combined value of projects supported by this round is over $764,000.
  • Diverse Range of Projects: From eco-tours on Kangaroo Island to camel treks in the outback and Aboriginal cultural tours, the funded projects encompass a wide range of nature-based experiences. These ventures are distributed across regional South Australia, including the Adelaide Hills, Eyre Peninsula, and Yorke Peninsula.
Key Projects and Initiatives
  • RAD KI’s Eco-Tourism Venture: Research & Discovery Coastal Tours Kangaroo Island (RAD KI) is set to introduce a unique two-day eco-tour where visitors can engage in citizen science activities. This involves collecting and analyzing data on vulnerable and endangered species, offering an immersive experience in conservation efforts.
  • Promoting Regional Diversity: The funding supports various projects, including walking tours in national parks, accommodation refurbishments, and the purchase of new vehicles for enhanced tourism experiences.
Government’s Vision and Support
  • Minister Bettison’s Remarks: Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison, emphasized the fund’s role in showcasing South Australia’s natural assets and boosting tourism offerings across the state. The fund is seen as a key driver in educating visitors about the state’s natural heritage and promoting sustainable tourism practices.
  • RAD KI’s Approach to Eco-Tourism: Roanna Horbelt, founder of RAD KI, highlighted their approach to integrating citizen science with nature exploration. The grant aids in upgrading equipment for data collection and strengthens their online presence, positioning RAD KI as a leading choice for eco-conscious tourists.
Industry Response
  • Tourism Industry’s Resilience: Dallas Coull, owner of See Adelaide and Beyond, acknowledged the challenges faced by the tourism industry in recent years. He expressed optimism that the new grants would enable the introduction of quality tourism products, revitalizing South Australia’s tourism sector post-Covid.
Looking Ahead
  • Future Funding Opportunities: The funding program will continue over four financial years, with up to $500,000 available annually. Applications for the third round of funding are set to open early in the new financial year, offering more opportunities for innovative nature-based tourism projects.
Region     Operator and project  Grant  Total project value
Adelaide and Adelaide Hills EscapeGoat Adventures 
Purchase of ebikes to upgrade fleet located in Belair National Park and purchase of GPS units to assist self-guided visitors
$20,000 $25,920
Eyre Peninsula Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris    
Refurbishment of tents at the Kangaluna Camp for tour participants entering the Gawler Ranges National Park
$14,400 $18,000
Eyre Peninsula Flinders Island Eco Escape    
Purchase of a vehicle for guest transfers and guest-led touring including education equipment to showcase the Investigator Marine Park
$20,000 $25,000
Eyre Peninsula Australian Coastal Safaris    
Purchase of a new mobile kitchen trailer and accessories to grow capacity and host high end culinary experiences in Lincoln, Coffin Bay & Nullarbor National Parks and West Coast Bays Marine Park
$25,136 $34,190
Fleurieu Peninsula The Backyard Universe    
Development of two new tours entering Deep Creek National Park and Talisker Conservation Park including a night tour and enhancement of an existing tour. Purchase of new equipment and implementation of marketing activities
$19,452 $24,316
Flinders Ranges and Outback Camel Treks Australia
Purchase of equipment to improve visitor comfort and safety for multi-day outback expeditions surrounding Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park
$26,480 $33,100
Kangaroo Island Research and Discovery Coastal Tours Kangaroo Island
Purchase of equipment to introduce a two-day eco-tour encouraging involvement in citizen science as visitors collect and analyse data on vulnerable and endangered species
$18,525 $23,157
Kangaroo Island Untamed Escapes
Purchase of a new bus and tour trailer to operate a 3 day Kangaroo Island Adventure tour entering multiple national parks
 $50,000 $143,731
Limestone Coast Walk the Limestone Coast
Purchase of vehicle to transport walkers to daily walk points on two multi-day walking tours visiting Limestone Coast national parks
$20,000 $30,490
Mainly operating in Limestone Coast, tour also enters: Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula, Limestone Coast, Murray River Lakes & Coorong, and Riverland See Adelaide and Beyond
Purchase of new vehicle to increase capacity on multi day tour bringing visitors from Victoria to Adelaide, visiting Naracoorte Caves National Park
$50,000 $74,596
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Aboriginal Corporation    
Development of new Ngarrindjeri cultural walking tours in Coorong National Park. Purchase of equipment, training, marketing and product development to support project 
$47,096  $58,871
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Mannum Aboriginal Community Association, 
Enhancement of the ‘Black Duck Dreaming Tour’ operating in Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park through the purchase of equipment and marketing
$24,540 $30,675
Fleurieu Peninsula and Murray River, Lakes & Coorong Canoe the Coorong
Purchase of a new vehicle to transport visitors to experience tours into Coorong National Park including introduction of transfers within the region
$37,818 $47,273
Yorke Peninsula Bayside Glamping
Construction of new cabin on the outskirts of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park in Marion Bay
$50,000 $143,903
Multiple regions: Fleurieu Peninsula, Flinders Ranges & Outback, Murray River Lakes & Coorong, Riverland, Yorke Peninsula Australian Private Tours & Charters and SA Eco Tours
Refurbishment of three touring vehicles to increase passenger capacity and marketing for tours which visit eight national parks across South Australia
$40,752 $50,942

The Experience Nature Tourism Fund grants represent a significant investment in the future of South Australia’s tourism industry. By supporting a diverse array of nature-based experiences, the state government is not only promoting environmental stewardship but also stimulating economic growth in the tourism sector. As the industry recovers and evolves post-Covid, these grants are poised to create new, sustainable opportunities for tourists to explore and appreciate the unique natural beauty of South Australia.

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