Queensland Ecotourism Plan released

28 Aug 2013 10:43 AMJann Stuckey

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Queensland’s future as Australia’s top nature-based tourism destination is all mapped out, with the release of the Ecotourism Plan 2013–2020, at the second annual DestinationQ forum on the Gold Coast today.

The plan, released today by National Parks Minister Steve Dickson and Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey, provides operators, government, community and other stakeholders with clear direction on how Queensland can leverage its competitive advantages, while conserving the natural environment.

Mr Dickson said the Ecotourism Plan showed the Newman Government’s commitment to increasing access to national parks for ecotourism.

“Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act allow the development of privately owned, permanent ecotourism facilities on national parks in Queensland for the first time.

“The draft plan received indicating a high level of support, particularly from tourism stakeholders.

“The majority of submissions identified resource protection and conservation as critical to maintaining Queensland’s high-quality natural values.

“The Plan addresses these through a range of actions focused on best-practice tourism operations and management of national parks to ensure their natural values are preserved.”

Ms Stuckey said that central to the Plan is a new vision for ecotourism in Queensland.  The vision will be achieved through five strategic priorities:

·         Delivering world-class experiences

·         Facilitating best practice and innovation

·         Raising the profile of Queensland’s ecotourism experiences

·         Fostering thriving operators, and

·         Embracing a partnership approach between the tourism industry, government, community and Traditional Owners.

“The Ecotourism Plan proposes 43 actions to be delivered over three years to ensure Queensland is a world leader in ecotourism,” Ms Stuckey said.

“There is full support across government and industry. Tour operators and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) advocate compulsory eco-accreditation for operators on national parks.

“The Plan is an excellent demonstration of the strong partnership between government departments and industry to deliver Queensland as a world leader in ecotourism.”

Shane O’Reilly, Chair of QTIC, said the quality and diversity of Queensland’s natural environment were the state’s strongest advantages in a very competitive domestic and international tourism market.

“Many tour operators base their experiences on the natural environment, and it is critical that industry works closely with government and other stakeholders to ensure we maximise this opportunity,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“QTIC will be actively supporting the implementation of the actions in the Plan.”

View the Plan and details on how to submit an EOI for ecotourism facilities on national parks at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au ( http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/ )

[ENDS] 27 August 2013