SYDNEY, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- National parks in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) saw record visitor numbers last year, with a whopping 16 percent increase on figures from 2016.
Looking to escape the bustling cities, there were over 60 million visits made to the state's 870 National parks according to the bi-annual Roy Morgan survey released on Tuesday.
Among the most popular sites were the Blue Mountains National Park with 8.43 million visits, the Royal National Park with 6.08 million visits, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park with 3.90 million visits, Kosciuszko National Park with 3.27 million visits and the Sydney Harbour National Park with 2.42 million visits.
Buoyed by the upswing in nature tourists, NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the state government will invest 149.5 million Australian dollars (about 101 million U.S. dollars) to improve facilities at the national park destinations including walking tracks, access routes and the overall experience.
"We've got some of the world's best and most significant national parks right here in NSW and I'm inviting the best of the construction industry to help make them even better," he said.
"This will create local jobs, support local businesses and boost regional economies."
"Half of the parks in the most-visited list are in regional NSW. So we want that figure to keep growing and make sure people are seeing the beauty of our regions," Kean added.