Tourism operators can expect a cash injection should plans for a marina in Koombana Bay be given the green light, according to Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance chairman David Kerr.
The $30 million proposal will provide a link between Busselton and Mandurah for recreational boaters and in doing so change the face of the city and revitalise the CBD.
“Once you get past a three-hour sail that is about as far as most recreational boaters and sailors are willing to go, ” Mr Kerr said.
“We’ve had a lot of suggestion from within the boating and sailing fraternity that Bunbury is the missing link along the South West coastline.”
Mr Kerr believes Bunbury is currently missing out on potential visitors who have nowhere to safely moor their boats or yachts overnight.
“An Australian study conducted in 2011 shows demand for marinas exceeds supply — even in tough financial times, ” he said.
“Cruising yachts are a growing segment of the market that the city should be taking advantage of.
“Our research suggests that buil- ding this marina in Bunbury will result in between $5 and $10 million per annum in direct revenue, as well as between two and three times that indirectly through boosts to surrounding businesses, particularly in industries like hospitality and tourism.”
A marina would also allow Bunbury to host lucrative sailing competitions.
“There is also a strong possibility of setting up races from places like Busselton, Mandurah and Fremantle, each of which would likely entail an overnight stay for competitors and bring a lot of money to the region, ” Mr Kerr said.
“If the city managed to land a major State or national sailing event that could mean a couple of million dollars coming into town over the course of just a few days.”