A private investor will build and operate a five-star luxury resort and glamping facilities at Monarto Zoo as part of a multi-million dollar expansion.
This exciting $40 million expansion will transform the site into the world’s largest safari experience outside of Africa and will mark its rebranding as ‘Monarto Safari Park’.
Zoos South Australia Chief Executive Elaine Bensted said Australian businessman and private investor Gerry Ryan OAM is building the luxury resort which will bring the multi-million development to life.
“We’re thrilled to formalise our partnership with Gerry Ryan OAM which will see him build and operate a state-of-the-art safari resort at Monarto, allowing us to expand our fabulous safari experiences and tourism offering,” Elaine says.
“$40 million in private investment and the construction of a luxury resort and glamping facilities is an exciting coup for Monarto Zoo and the broader tourism industry in the Murraylands.
“Mr Ryan is a highly successful business leader and has extensive experience when it comes to developments in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors.
“The expansion will see Mr Ryan build a luxury resort with hotel rooms, conference, function and restaurant spaces and eco-glamping facilities, giving our visitors the extraordinary opportunity to experience a luxury sleepover at Monarto Safari Park for the first time by 2022.
“Plus, we’ll be launching new tours and offerings, including safari experiences with specially designed open-sided vehicles, and a 35,000sqm walk-though lemur experience, which will position Monarto Safari Park as an international tourism drawcard.
“The addition of accommodation and new experiences will also help us generate more funds to support our critical conservation work and continually improve our facilities at both of our sites.
“This announcement follows closely the funding commitment by both the State and Commonwealth Governments to enable the development of a new Visitor Centre.
“We’re staying true to our core business which is providing our visitors with incredible opportunities to connect with nature, learn about conservation and discover the benefits of getting off the beaten track.
“Our new safari experience is set to be the closest visitors can get to an African safari, all within an hour’s drive of Adelaide.”
Gerry Ryan OAM said he was thrilled to be investing in this redevelopment.
“Monarto Safari Park is a standout tourism offering, and this expansion will provide visitors with an unsurpassable safari experience that will attract domestic and international visitation,” says Mr Ryan.
“Tourism is a key growth sector which has a hugely positive impact on the local economy with the creation of jobs, and by attracting tourists to the region to stay in this unique accommodation.
“I believe Monarto is a jewel in South Australia’s crown and the aim of this development is to create a truly memorable safari experience second only to a safari in Africa,” Mr Ryan continues.
The new development is also expected to create a large number of jobs and generate economic activity for the region.
“Mr Ryan has already purchased some adjacent land to support this development and we’re excited to begin construction in 2020,” Elaine said.
“We know from modelling that construction of a project of this scale is expected to generate 72 direct FTE and 151 indirect FTE, for a total of 223 FTE positions.
“Once the new Visitor Centre and the accommodation are in operation, the development will require an additional 90 FTE to run facilities and support the increased demand associated with visitation increases.”
Beyond jobs growth, this project will generate significant economic activity.
During the construction period, an estimated $20.4m of Gross Regional Product is expected to be produced. This will deliver significant flow-on effects to the local economy.
“Monarto Zoo has experienced significant growth in the past five years, and we have plans to increase our visitors to 250,000 in the next five years,” Elaine said.
This expansion will mark a dynamic era of growth for Monarto Zoo and its official relaunch as Monarto Safari Park.
“To coincide with the expansion, we’re changing our name to Monarto Safari Park from today onwards to reflect who we’ve been for the past 26 years, where we’re going, and the experiences we’re creating for our visitors,” Elaine said.
“All our market research indicates our visitors view us as a safari park, and as we announce we are building the world’s largest safari experience outside of Africa, now is the perfect time to transition into Monarto Safari Park.
“As a conservation charity, the last thing we want is to create unnecessary waste which ends up in landfill, which is why we’ll be rolling out the name change in a way that reduces the impact on the environment.
With this in mind, please bear with us as we update our signage and bring the name change to life over the next two years.”
Stay tuned for updates.