It’s been a tough year for the South Australian economy. Broadening the government’s infrastructure program to boost tourism could create jobs and lift moral.
Tapping into a growing tourism market has the potential to reap big benefits but there’s not much to attract families and young people to South Australia.
So what about the state developing a Gold Coast-style theme park?
Sure, it would be a big spend but the pay-offs could also be huge.
South Australia has dabbled in this area before, without much success, but it might be time to go all the way.
MT LOFTY CABLE CAR:
It’s a bit old hat but remains popular in many places around the world. A cable car running from the base of Mt Lofty to the summit would provide some great views of the city and the coast and could be a real magnet for tourists who perhaps don’t have all that much spare cash. Some extra spending at the summit would be required to cater for the influx of visitors but that could be largely left to the private sector.
HANDS-ON SCIENCE CENTRE:
Locals remember fondly the Investigator Science Centre which entertained thousands of children (and adults) in Adelaide. It operated for 15 years before closing in 2006 over what some described as an outbreak of apathy. It could be time to bring it back but bigger and better. Think Questacon, the science and technology centre in Canberra, which attracts about 500,000 visitors each year. With the more recent developments in the various sciences this could be a major drawcard for Adelaide and might even inspire the next generation of scientists.
And while we’re on the subject of bringing back old attractions, what about Marineland? With its performing seals and dolphins it attracted thousands to Adelaide’s West Beach from the 1960s to the 80s. Sure, the treatment of such animals is now more controversial, but done properly, by combining it with a centre for marine research, it could be a winner.
FINISH VICTORIA SQUARE:
The Adelaide City Council did half the job, and perhaps it’s time the state government stepped in to finish it off. The southern side of Victoria Square is clearly the poor cousin to its northern neighbour. You might not like the revamped portion but there’s no denying it’s better than what was there before. And more importantly there’s still the opportunity to do something spectacular with the southern half. Something to make it a must-see for locals and visitors.
The state government has a plan to extend Adelaide’s tiny tram network. But it’s really a long-term wish rather than an immediate priority. An extensive tram network would not only be good for locals but also for visitors. Most of the world’s great tourism cities have excellent public transport and if Adelaide wants to be a major player in the tourism industry it should be no different.
These projects are big ticket items and most are not normally the types to attract government funding.
But they would generate jobs and provide a major boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors.
More importantly, they might help lift the spirits of many South Australians who did it tough in 2015.