A former Department of Parks and Wildlife director general has been appointed as the chair of a working group to capitalise on a rare solar eclipse visible from Australia for the first time in 1000 years. On April 20, 2023, Exmouth and the North West Cape area will be one of the only places in the world where people will be able to see the hybrid eclipse in its entirety. It will be the first time in more than 1000 years a hybrid eclipse has been visible from Australia, with Tourism WA estimating more than 10,000 visitors will travel to the region. A Ningaloo eclipse senior officer working group headed by former Parks and Wildlife director general Jim Sharp has been created to manage the rare event. Mr Sharp will lead the eclipse working group, which brings together representatives from 13 State Government departments and will provide support to the project team. Mr Sharp has more than 35 years of experience in parks and wildlife in Western Australia and spent 12 years as the national parks director. The project team will liaise with key stakeholders across local government and industry, including the Shire of Exmouth and the Gascoyne Development Commission. Tourism WA acting managing director Derryn Belford said Mr Sharp brought a wealth of experience to the role. “Jim brings a great deal of experience in overseeing major infrastructure initiatives, and managing and facilitating natural tourism in WA,” she said. “He will oversee the delivery of a safe and secure Ningaloo Eclipse event for the town, tourism operators, visitors, and all involved. “The Total solar eclipse is attracting interest from around the world. “It’s a great opportunity for the region and will highlight the amazing astrotourism and stargazing experiences in Exmouth and the wider Coral Coast region.” The astrotourism event is expected to inject more than $27 million into the State economy.