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Brochure Rounds Off Tourism Trifecta

The new Sapphire Gemfields Treasure Trail brochure is set to make it easier and more enjoyable to explore one of the Central Highlands’ premiere destinations.

Launched ahead of the 2019 tourism season, this 8-panel, full-colour fold-out uses detailed maps to provide a comprehensive guide to the area, including the Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve.

Copies are $1.00 each and can be purchased from local businesses and Visitor Information Centres.

The initiative follows on from the recent development of the Wetland Reserve.

“We opened the Wetland Reserve last year and launched the Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail in 2017, so this brochure is a natural progression from those projects,” Sapphire Gemfields Steering Committee Chair Ewan Letts says.

“The Gemmies is already an iconic destination however there was clearly much potential to attract more visitors, inspire them to stay longer and to better help them navigate and get to know the area.

“This trio of projects achieves that.”

The Steering Committee consists of local business operators, community members, a Central Highlands Regional Councillor, and Tourism Development Coordinator Paul Thompson from the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC).

“The brochure – together with the Interpretive Trail and Wetland Reserve – is a case study in the importance of partnerships to develop the region’s tourism industry,” Mr Thompson says.

“These types of projects are incredibly valuable to the tourism sector and the wider community, but they can only happen when all stakeholders are engaged in the process and driven to make it happen.”

Mr Letts, who also owns and operates Blue Gem Tourist Park, agrees it’s “an amazing feat” for a relatively small community.

“But it’s because we’ve got a committee of dedicated members with a range of skills and we’ve had the unwavering support of Council,” he explains.

“Not only has Council contributed financially, it’s also given our group constant input and crucial advice, particularly on applying for State and Federal funding and meeting the criteria of how that money is spent.”

The brochure will be distributed at various industry events and traveller expos, such as caravan and camping expos. 40,000 copies have been printed.

The Steering Committee’s formation in 2013 was facilitated by the Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC).

The Sapphire Gemfields is one of the world’s largest sapphire fields and takes in the townships of Anakie, Rubyvale, Sapphire and Willows Gemfields.

Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail

Using $590,000 in funding from CHRC and the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program, the trail was opened in August 2017. It is designed to enhance the visitor’s experience, with a series of five large interpretive nodes across the four local townships and 30 smaller place-markers at points of interest throughout the area. The Tourism Demand- Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program is administered by the Queensland Government’s Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.

Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve

The Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve was opened in April 2018 and consists of 3.6 km of gravel walking trails, with accompanying educational and directional signage, and two viewing areas. The project was jointly funded by CHRC and the Australian Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, which contributed almost $110,000.

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