The Shire of Lake Grace has received $36,000 from the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund to boost astrotourism across six Local Governments. The Shire applied for the funding on behalf of six Local Governments across the Wheatbelt and Mid-West regions.
The Astrotourism Towns project will deliver six community stargazing event and a plan to develop a stargazing tourism trail, to grow regional astrotourism activities and businesses in the Shires of Chittering, Coorow, Lake Grace, Northam, Wagin and West Arthur.
The funding will build on the support from the founding project partners, the City of Greater Geraldton and the Shires of Carnamah, Dandaragan, Mingenew, Moora, Morawa, Perenjori, Three Springs and Wongan-Ballidu.
Cr Jeanette De Landgrafft, president of the Shire of Lake Grace said, “The Astrotourismsector is a new layer for WA’s regional Tourism Industry.
Using our world-class dark night sky asset to attract visitors from brightly lit cities around the world will increase overnight stays in regional WA. This will be a significant boost to local economies,”
Global artificial light pollution is increasing by 2 per cent every year with 80 per cent of the world’s population living under a night sky affected by sky glow. Perth, being the second most isolated capital city in the world, gives Western Australia a natural advantage for astronomy and stargazing activities.
Ms Carol Redford, Founder of Astrotourism WA said, “Regional WA has hundreds ofwelcoming country towns and naturally low levels of artificial light pollution across the Wheatbelt and Mid-West. If we maintain and improve the quality of the dark night skythrough the reduction of artificial light pollution, we’ll have a tourism asset for decades to come.”
The project commences with preliminary visits to each town to determine new stargazing and astrophotography locations. Later in the year, free community stargazing events will raise awareness of the project, light pollution and the potential economic opportunities Astrotourism can bring.