Will inflatable water park bring tourists?

BOONDOOMA and Bjelki-Petersen dams are known as great fishing destinations.

Though they bring in tens of the thousands of tourists every year, their manager isn't satisfied.

Cory Goldie runs the tourism operations at both locations on behalf of the South Burnett Regional Council.

He reckons a floating watersports complex would boost visitor numbers.

"It has been talked about for the past two or three years but the council hasn't gone into the nitty gritty of how it would all work," Mr Goldie said.

"We just believe it would be a huge boost for tourism."

Mr Goldie estimates about 50,000 people visit the two parks each year, injecting millions of dollars into the economy.

"We've looked at it and about $30 per person is spent in the region, that's not including the accommodation," he said.

This figure relates to visitors who stay overnight at the park and not the thousands of locals and day trippers who pop out for a quick drop of the lure.

Setting up a watersports complex is one way the dams can compete for tourists who enjoy a swim but are not as enthusiastic about fishing.

"If you're talking bird watching, photography or star gazing, you have to do a lot of them to increase numbers," Mr Goldie said.

"Doing one big thing like the waterpark is an instant driver and big numbers come."

Mr Goldie said it would be ideal to host the complex at Bjelke-Petersen Dam as it is closer to major population centres.

"It's a drive through destination and people could split their holiday, say they are going to Gympie or Cania Gorge, and stop in for a couple a days," he said.

"Yallakool has better infrastructure, more cabins and better facilities, it has the tennis court and swimming pool."

Boondooma is a more relaxed park that is less developed; a quality campers favour.

"Over the last couple of the years Boondooma has been more popular because of the water supply and the fishing," Mr Goldie said.

Michael Nolan

South Burnett

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