The announcement follows Tuesday’s (December 19) $100,000 commitment from the State Government to promote the fishing hotspot.
Acting Mayor Cr Karen May said matching the State’s commitment was a no-brainer.
“With Mackay Tourism revealing this week that we’ve had 908,000 domestic visitors to our region in the July to September quarter, and that those visitors are staying longer than ever before, the net free zone is a key way to further capitalise on tourism,” Cr May said.
“In 2016 visiting recreational fishers contributed about $23 million to our local economy,” she said.
“But when you consider that a 2015 survey, when the zones were first established, found that only five per cent of visitors went fishing while in our area, that figure has a huge potential for growth.”
Cr May said a tourist in our region spent$170 a day on average – with travelling fishers often blowing this number out of the water when food, accommodation, fishing supplies, fuel and more were added up.
“If promoted properly, not only will this net free zone draw in holiday travellers, it will mean that people visiting relatives or on business will likely stay longer,” she said.
“We just need to ensure the infrastructure and business options are in place to make the area easily accessible.
“Council wants to ensure we get the best value for our funds and we are currently exploring signage options, marketing avenues and forms of business attraction that can capitalise on the unique nature of the fishery.”