Winton is gearing up for an outback visitor stampede with the Palaszczuk Government delivering $4.9 million in new additions to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum.
On Saturday, Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe officially opened the Australian Age of Dinosaurs' Dynamic Destination Project including Australia's first International Dark Sky Sanctuary.
"The Palaszczuk Government's $4.9 million investment through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund creates an even better outback visitor experience at Winton's Australian Age of Dinosaurs," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Last year, more than 827,000 visitors took in an outback road trip experience, contributing around $467 million to Outback Queensland's COVID-19 economic recovery.
"With the new additions to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs and the development of a Queensland dinosaur roadmap, Winton is gearing up for an outback visitor stampede this winter after above average numbers of tourists to the region over summer.
"The Premier recently brought Cabinet to Longreach to demonstrate the importance of Outback tourism and attractions like the Australian Age of Dinosaurs to Queensland's economic recovery plan"
Australian Age of Dinosaurs' Dynamic Destination Project includes two new, enormous replica sauropods, joining 39 life-sized and lifelike dinosaur sculptures and seven bronze pterosaurs winged reptiles already at the Dinosaur Canyon area of the museum.
There are high-powered telescopes and new seating for Australia's first International Dark Sky Sanctuary - the Gondwana Stars open topped observatory - which is one the best places in the country to witness the wonders of the outback night sky.
Visitors can now also walk with dinosaurs in air-conditioned comfort with the project delivering a new building protecting a fascinating dinosaur track of sauropods, ornithopods and small theropods.
"Some of the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth did so right here in Outback Queensland," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Winton and Outback Queensland are some of the best places in the world to walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs.
"The Palaszczuk Government's $4.9 million infrastructure investment in the Australia of Age of Dinosaurs is designed to encourage more visitors to stay longer.
"Already, dinosaur attractions account for more than a quarter of all leisure tourism visits to the region and we're anticipating that share will grow.
"An extra 7,000 tourists are expected to visit the museum every year to support local jobs and generate additional overnight visitor expenditure in Winton of $1.7 million.
"The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world which makes Winton the place to be this winter for a unique visitor experience."
Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum founder David Elliott said the Dynamic Destination Project included the giant-meteorite-shaped Gondwana Stars Observatory, March of the Titanosaurs exhibit (a 900 square metre building over Australia's best preserved sauropod dinosaur trackway) and the up to four-metre-high dinosaur sculptures.
"The life-size bronze sauropods walking along the edge of the cliff at Dinosaur Canyon will create the most excitement - these animals are huge and very realistic," Mr Elliott said.
"While the challenges of social distancing have brought some changes in our workplace, it is still very much business as usual at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum.
"Tourism in the Outback is going to need all the help it can get to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and it is so inspiring to see the magnificent new attractions of the Dynamic Destination coming together.
"It is these kinds of things that will make a difference later. Thank you to the Queensland Government for enabling this project."