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​Push Pilbara mining to tourists, Anderson says

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The founder of Contiki, John Anderson, has urged the Pilbara to promote its mining industry as a tourist attraction.

Addressing the Pilbara Pulse Economic Summit, Anderson pointed to mining as a way for the region to differentiate itself, the ABC reported.

I would love to go and see a working mine," he told the conference.

"I mean these are huge, and the size of the machines - the wheels were twice as tall as I was, so I would love to see that.

"People are always looking for something that is different, something they haven't seen before.”

However he went on to clarify that the region, and its mining industry, should take a niche market approach.

You are not going to get the mass market coming here, but if you have got something special, particularly nature, then you [need to take] not the shotgun approach, you use the rifle approach," he said, according to the ABC.

"You think: 'What sort of people would be interested in seeing these wonderful things that we have got?'

"So you go into their particular magazines, not try and broadcast to everybody because it's too expensive anyway."

The Pilbara is not the first region to look to its mining industry as a lure for tourists.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s massive Super Pit has long been a draw for the West Australian town.

Broken Hill has also capitalised on its mining history as a tourist attraction.

Four NSW Central West councils have come together to create a mining trail tourism route.

The original proposal, developed by Rio Tinto’s Northparkes underground mine, persuades visitors to see mine sites around Orange, Parkes, West Wyalong and Cobar.

Katrina Dwyer, Parkes’ tourism manager, explained that there is a growing interest for mining based travel.

"It's becoming a real topic for people to become interested in," she said.

"Not only just self-drive tourists but also school groups. So it's really good education, looking into the history of mining and the impact it has on the region and also how current mine sites operate and the spin off benefits they have for communities."

It’s not just in Australia where the mining industry is opening its doors in a bid to attract tourists.

Chile’s copper industry is going on show, with plans to open up many of the country’s mines.

In a move set to add to the country’s visitor numbers, next year 24 mines will open their gates in an initiative labelled the “Mining Tourism Route.”

Brainchild of the Antofagasta Regional Branch of the National Tourism Service (Sernatur) and with the backing of local authorities and mining companies, the tour will focus on the country’s northern region of Antofagasta.

Visitors will be able to get a close-up view of some of the world’s largest mines, including the Chuquicamata mine, located 1585 kilometeres north of the nation’s capital of Santiago.

From viewing areas, tourists will see the expanse of the mine and its massive machinery as well as the copper extraction and refinement processes

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