Couple's lodge a big idea
DEVELOPERS of the Bundaberg region's first eco-lodge aimed at the working backpacker market are in line to win a major award this evening.
The Tranquilo Way Eco-lodge has been named a finalist for a Queensland Big Idea grant aimed at offering small to medium sized Queensland businesses an opportunity to turn their big ideas into reality.
Childers couple Rhys and Vanessa Kummerow are holding their breath until winners are announced.
"Being named a finalist in this competitive statewide program reinforces our belief that our concept is something unique which will have a huge positive impact on the Bundaberg region," Mr Kummerow said.
The eco-lodge's big idea is to provide environmentally sustainable backpackers accommodation in a relaxed rural setting.
Mr Kummerow said that, as well as providing beds, they would offer a transparent harvest work service matching farmers with happy and productive backpacker labour.
He said the eco-lodge was conceived as a unique proposition that would transform the way backpackers saw and experienced the Bundaberg region and Australia.
The couple aims to make a positive contribution to local economic development so local businesses earn not only increased tourist dollars but see a multiplier effect through visitor and business spending.
"We expect direct spending by our guests to inject $1.3 million per year into the local economy," Mrs Kummerow said.
She said the figure was based on research related to spend and length of stay by backpackers working in the region.
The eco-lodge in Apple Tree Creek will open with the first 24 beds in 2012 and grow to 60 beds by 2014.
Aimed at encouraging innovation across the state, the Queensland Big Idea grant is open annually to businesses in a range of fields.
Finalists in the grant can apply for up to $50,000 as matched funding to develop their big idea.