A new dive training centre on the doorstep to the Great Barrier Reef is set to boost dive tourism in the Far North.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk officially opened the Quicksilver Dive Centre in Port Douglas this afternoon, joined by Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker, Member for Cook Cynthia Lui and Member for Cairns Michael Healy.
The Premier said the investment, which would entice more visitors to the region, reinforced Queensland’s status as an international dive destination.
“This new, purpose-built dive training centre in Port Douglas will play a pivotal role in growing dive tourism in the Tropical North,” she said.
“Queensland is home to the largest recreational snorkelling and diving sector in the country and this exciting investment represents a real commitment to the state’s diving industry.
“That means a future for sustainable tourism jobs in the region.
“The message we’re sending to tourists is – come and have a fabulous holiday in Port Douglas and surrounds, learn to dive and get up close and personal with one of the seven wonders of the natural world.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said Port Douglas was the perfect location for the new centre.
“Off the coast here we have the Agincourt Reef, which is a spectacular and pristine ecosystem of many smaller reefs,” she said.
“This new training centre means diving enthusiasts can spend time in Port Douglas training and then travel about 70 kilometres off the coast to the very outer edge of Australia’s Continental Shelf to experience one of the most amazing underwater shows on the planet.”
The Quicksilver Dive Centre is owned and operated by the Quicksilver Group, which currently employees more than 620 people in the region.
Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker said the dive centre was the latest venture for the reef tourism mainstay, which offered a range of experiences and activities from Port Douglas to Cairns.
“As the largest and most-awarded Great Barrier Reef tourism operator we have introduced guests from Australia and around the world to the wonders of this World Heritage site for the past 39 years,” Mr Baker said.
“Our new centre is an exciting development in growing the dive market to Port Douglas and exploring the fantastic underwater world at Agincourt Reef.
“We are confident that this development will enhance Quicksilver’s position to continue investing in our facilities and services within the Port Douglas community.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the whole region would benefit from the tourism boost.
“In the year to June 2018 the Tropical North welcomed more than two million Australian tourists – up 13 per cent on the previous year – and, while in the region, they spent a staggering $2.3 billion dollars, a rise of 25 per cent,” Mr Healy said.
“Around 218,000 of those domestic visitors went snorkelling or scuba diving in the region and 342,000 headed out to the Great Barrier Reef.
“I’m confident this new dive centre – which offers courses across multiple days – will see tourists staying in the Far North for longer periods of time.”
Construction on the Quicksilver Dive Centre began in October 2017, with the facility officially opening for classes from late October 2018.
The centre includes air-conditioned classrooms, a specialty dive shop and an above-ground, four-metre-deep pool with a special viewing wall to study dive technique.