The owner of a new cafe in Wilcannia says that tourism is the future of the struggling town. Adrian Fethers recently opened the Courthouse Cafe and Gallery after spending three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovations. He says the town has a lot of things going for it - like the friendly residents and the history of the Darling River pioneers. "Tourism I think is the only opportunity we've got to provide employment and the next five to ten years that's the obvious place or the obvious direction the town must take," he said. "We need facilities for tourists such as accommodation and things to do. "We can develop walks and sights for tourists to enjoy. "The paddle-steamers could be resurrected - to moor one in the river - the one that came up the other day was the first one in 70 years. "I think there are plenty of opportunities." The cafe is one of three new businesses in town - along with Miss Barrett's Coffee Shop and the Warrawong on the Darling caravan park. Mr Fethers is confident he and the other new business owners can change outsiders' perceptions of Wilcannia and get more travellers to stop. "There are 80 caravans coming through Wilcannia a day," he said. "Regrettably most of them don't stop, but the first task is to change their perceptions of Wilcannia as a place to stop. "I don't think that should be too difficult." Inland New South Wales Tourism says a new push by the State Government to grow Aboriginal tourism business will mean more opportunities for the far west. The NSW Government unveiled the action plan yesterday with a number of initiatives to be rolled out in the next three years. Inland NSW Tourism chief executive Graham Perry says it is a niche market that has the potential to attract a lot of visitors to the region. He says a number of groups have already identified local artefacts and areas of significance, but tourism experiences need to be built around them. "The trick is to now actually develop the stories which actually can be articulated to the visitors so they actually can realise there's a great potential to go out there and experience them," Mr Perry said. "So it's really not well developed but it literally is a great opportunity."
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