A $23 MILLION adventure trail starting on the Border and reaching along the Murray River to Mildura could become the best of its type in the world.
That is the confident prediction of the Murray Regional Tourism group.
Chief executive Mark Francis said the 10-year, three-stage project was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Murray region’s attractions.
“We can clearly set ourselves up as one of the iconic trails around the world,” he said.
“When we looked at all the different long-distance trails both in Australia and the world, there’s no other one that actually has all forms combined into the one trail.”
The group announced yesterday it had completed its business case to help develop the next stage of the trail, which would start at Hume Dam.
Mr Francis said he was delighted this had demonstrated the project was viable.
“We’ve obviously been working with a wide range of government partners throughout the development of the feasibility study and business case,” he said.
“There’s been a high level of support for the concept across the agencies — that’s a positive step.”
It has been estimated the project — dubbed “The Adventure Trail — would attract an extra 100,000 vistors.
Sixty-nine jobs would be created, while an extra $12.5 million would be pumped into the region each year once the project was completed.
It would cover an estimated 1040 kilometres on the river and 1390 kilometres of riverside track.
The total estimated cost is $23.4 million, including $3.8 million for the three-year first stage that includes building the starting link between Hume Dam and Albury-Wodonga.
Murray Regional Tourism has among its members fourteen tourism associations and councils along the river’s length.
These include Albury, Wodonga, Greater Hume, Corowa, Berrigan and Moira councils.
The project cost includes overnight camping sites, signs, toilets and jetties, with the first stage to focus on developing nature-based activities close to key tourism locations.
Mr Francis said the idea for the trail first arose just 18 months ago as part of the group’s destination management plan process.
“Since then we’ve been working to secure the funding to undertake the feasibility study,” he said.
Mr Francis said the study was only recently completed and had now been signed off by the federal government and the group’s board.
Financial backing is next.