The Great North Coast Trail (GNCT) project aimed at assessing the potential for a world-class long-distance walking trail, that may offer significant market potential. This feasibility study, conducted by TRC Tourism and MCA Economics for Destination North Coast NSW (DNC), assesses the trail, target markets, and proposes seven Signature Trails to enhance the region’s appeal. The GNCT is designed to link existing trails and highlight the coastal landscapes of NSW’s north coast. These Signature Trails, ranging from 2-5 days, cater to a higher-spending market seeking manageable walking experiences with accommodation and support. The trails cover varied scenic routes like Byron Bay to Ballina, Yuraygir Coastal Walk, and Tomaree Coastal Walk, each detailed in the study.
The economic impact of the GNCT is substantial: construction costs are estimated at $32.231 million, generating significant jobs and regional income. Operationally, the trails are expected to attract increasing numbers of users, boosting regional income significantly. The economic impact analysis shows trail users supporting hundreds of jobs and contributing greatly to regional income. The benefit-cost analysis indicates a strong return on investment, with every dollar spent on the trial expected to yield benefits over 10 years. This project not only promises substantial economic benefits but also enhances the regional appeal with its focus on nature and cultural experiences.