Ecotourism in Australia started in earnest in 1991. This was a very exciting time and a chance for Australia to pioneer and shape a new form of tourism. Ecotourism was very suitable to Australia’s diverse and often fragile heritage values.
Roll forward 25 years and ecotourism is a global phenomena and a major and growing part of the tourism industry in the Asia-Pacific. Never before has there been such a strong focus on experiences, authenticity, responsible tourism, sustainability and community involvement within tourism.
So what will be the defining elements of ecotourism over the next 25 years that enable it to deliver excellence? Where will innovation be most valued? What areas are in greatest need of innovation?
I am very interested to bring into focus the means available to the Asia Pacific region to achieve sustainability through both both low tech and high tech means. This region has unequal access to technology and unequal access to labour. Can innovation help overstep these limitations?
The relationship between protected area managers and ecotourism has evolved and matured significantly over the past 25 years. We see strategic partnerships, co-investment and privately funded conservation emerging from many jurisdictions. As we look to the future this trend is very likely to accelerate. The 2016 conference will take a close look at trends, policy and case studies in tourism on protected areas.
The Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference moves to Tasmania in 2016. It is ten years since the last Tasmanian conference and regular delegates to Global Eco still talk about the remarkable success of that event. The 2016 Conference aims to lift that bar, and the extremely high standard of the Rottnest Island Conference last year, to be the best Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference yet! So mark 21-23 November in your diary, and also be on standby to sign up for some remarkable pre-conference technical tours – essential applied knowledge for ecotourism and protected area professionals.
Tony Charters AM
Global Eco Convenor