Preparations for Tourism Awards to get underway

Published on 06 February 2019

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The Cataract Gorge pool will be closed temporarily as preparations for Qantas Australian Tourism Awards get underway.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the First Basin pool will close on Friday, February 15 and reopen on the March long-weekend.

The closure is to allow scaffolding to be erected over the pool in preparation for the awards ceremony on Friday, March 1.

The pool will be refilled following the awards.

All other areas of the First Basin and the Gorge will remain unaffected by the pool closure.

The national tourism awards will attract more than 800 award finalists, tourism leaders and industry stakeholders from across the country.

"This will be the largest tourism event ever held in Launceston, and only the third time the event has been held outside a capital city - the previous two being Cairns and Uluru," Mayor van Zetten said.

"Tourism is such an important industry not only for Tasmania, but for Launceston, and to be granted the 2018 awards ceremony is a huge feather in our city's cap.

"All Northern Tasmanians are proud of Cataract Gorge and we hope as many people as possible can join us to help make this to be the best venue ever for the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

"The awards will undoubtedly generate national and international interest in our state's already booming tourism sector and provide Launceston unprecedented exposure to the 800 industry leaders on the night.

"At last year's event in Perth, Western Australia, a survey of attendees showed that during their stay, each person spent more than $2000, which included accommodation, food and beverages and shopping.

"More than 90 per cent of award ceremony attendees spent more than one night, with almost 1400 room nights directly attributed to the event, with almost two-thirds saying they were inspired to return based purely on their tourism awards experience.

"That level of spend into our local economy will provide an enormous benefit to the Launceston economy."

First Basin pool patrons will still be able to access other City of Launceston outdoor pools at the Launceston Aquatic Centre and the Lilydale Pool during this time.

"Even with the closure of the Gorge pool for this event, the Basin itself will still be available for people wanting to take a swim on those warmer days and we still have our fantastic, free pool at Lilydale, which I encourage as many people to take advantage of during this time," Mayor van Zetten said.

"And of course, there's also our magnificent regional facility - the Launceston Aquatic Centre."

Mayor van Zetten said that as a way of celebrating the event with community, the Council will host a free community event at the Gorge on Saturday, March 2 from 11am through to 3pm.

"Come and enjoy a free barbecue courtesy of Rotary Club of Launceston, a giant water slide, face painting for the kids, a special Music in the Gorge event to wrap up the 2019 Music in the Park series featuring St Joes Big Band, plus many other fantastic events," Mayor van Zetten said.

The redeveloped Cataract Gorge Playspace will also be completed in the coming weeks.

The upgrade will see the existing playground updated to a more accessible and contemporary natural playspace, which can better withstand flood events.

The new playspace will see the existing play area directly in front of the cafe and public amenities transformed into a vibrant new nature-based play zone featuring disabled access, a children's amphitheatre, a water play zone, native plantings, boulders, tree trunks, a sand pit, an accessible swing set, a tunnel slide, a giant mouse-wheel treadmill and an extended forecourt outside the amenities building.

Importantly, the new play area is being built to the same level as the existing public amenities, meaning access to the site will be easier for parents, grandparents and people with disabilities.