Ben Artup #

Executive Director, Bundaberg Regional Council

Ben Artup1

Abstract

Reducing Urban Glow in Bundaberg to Support Sea Turtle Tourism

Located at the southern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Bundaberg has over 30,000 tourist each year who visit nesting sea turtles at Bundaberg beaches. However the longer term sustainability of the regions nesting sea turtle population is impacted by night time urban glow.

Council, the state government, and 6 other community, education and resource management groups have come together to fund an initiative to reduce urban glow in Bundaberg in efforts to ensure longer term sustainability of nesting sea turtle populations along our coast line.

This $1.3m project is using new technology and an open data approach to ensure sea turtle sustainability and future ecotourism opportunities. Stage 1 has created a real time, online, urban glow heat map of urban glow to publically show where urban glow is coming from. Stage 2 will then deploy innovative lighting technology in areas of highest urban glow to improve sea turtle survival and support ongoing ecotourism opportunities.

Most importantly this project is empowering community and businesses to make better decision to reduce urban glow and embrace ecotourism in an environmentally sensitive, proactive and community driven way. This project is also using a world’s best practice open data and technology approach to support the regions sea turtles and unique ecotourism potential.

Biography

Ben Artup is an economist with 20 years working in regional development, including tourism. Ben is leading the reducing urban glow in Bundaberg project which has already gained national recognition for its innovative approach to sea turtle conservation. Ben will provide an overview of the project and how it is empowering citizens to take individual action in support of the regions unique ecotourism opportunity and turtle nesting experience.

Dr Noreen Breakey #

Lecturer and Researcher, Tourism Discipline, UQ Business School, The University of Queensland

Noreen Breakey

Abstract

Co-presenter of: Learning from Success: two Malaysian community based ecotourism case studies
Presenting with Dr Marcus Curcija and Dr Sally Driml.

Communities face numerous challenges when implementing community based ecotourism (CBE). As a result, projects often do not deliver on the planned or anticipated community and environmental outcomes. To understand how communities could mitigate negative impacts, increase the benefits, and create ‘successful’ outcomes, two CBE case studies were selected within Malaysia. The locations were chosen to derive insights based on a comparative analysis and interviews were conducted with community, government, NGO, academic, and private industry stakeholders.

Case Study Sabah is a ‘successful’ CBE destination and Case Study Sarawak is an ‘emerging’ destination. The classification of ‘successful’ is used as the CBE is self-sustaining and generating numerous positive outcomes. ‘Emerging’ recognises that the community is receiving visitation and some economic benefits for some community members; however, ongoing issues are limiting poverty alleviation, community involvement, and environmental sustainability.

A key difference between the cases was that Case Study Sabah had successfully implemented the planned ‘Five CBE Development Phases’: Research, Exposure, Brainstorming, Detailed Planning, and Operations. These can be adopted to develop a community’s capacity for economic development through CBE. Furthermore the case study research, in conjunction with the broader CBE study, identified ‘Six Main Requirements for Positive CBE Outcomes’ which aim to create ‘Successful’ CBE destinations: proper implementation of planning is necessary, dedicated leadership must remain diligent and support participation, the community’s goals and benefit scheme should be reviewed systematically, successful CBE takes time, the funding process must enable the empowerment of the community, and partnerships and networks need to be utilised.

Biography

Noreen Breakey holds a PhD in tourism destination development and is a lecturer and researcher in Tourism at the UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Australia. Her research explores the relationships between people, tourism, and the natural environment, through her principal research areas of environmental ethics, sustainable tourism, ecotourism, community-based tourism, and tourism in protected areas. Prior to her academic career, Noreen worked for over a decade in industry, including hotels, resorts, tour operations, travel agencies, and events in Australia and overseas, as well as in government, as the Corporate Planning Analyst at Tourism Events Queensland. Noreen is currently a member of EA’s Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Dr Marcus Curcija #

Principal Consultant, Third I Management

Marcus Curcija1

Abstract

Learning from Success: two Malaysian community based ecotourism case studies

Communities face numerous challenges when implementing community based ecotourism (CBE). As a result, projects often do not deliver on the planned or anticipated community and environmental outcomes. To understand how communities could mitigate negative impacts, increase the benefits, and create ‘successful’ outcomes, two CBE case studies were selected within Malaysia. The locations were chosen to derive insights based on a comparative analysis and interviews were conducted with community, government, NGO, academic, and private industry stakeholders.

Case Study Sabah is a ‘successful’ CBE destination and Case Study Sarawak is an ‘emerging’ destination. The classification of ‘successful’ is used as the CBE is self-sustaining and generating numerous positive outcomes. ‘Emerging’ recognises that the community is receiving visitation and some economic benefits for some community members; however, ongoing issues are limiting poverty alleviation, community involvement, and environmental sustainability.

A key difference between the cases was that Case Study Sabah had successfully implemented the planned ‘Five CBE Development Phases’: Research, Exposure, Brainstorming, Detailed Planning, and Operations. These can be adopted to develop a community’s capacity for economic development through CBE. Furthermore the case study research, in conjunction with the broader CBE study, identified ‘Six Main Requirements for Positive CBE Outcomes’ which aim to create ‘Successful’ CBE destinations: proper implementation of planning is necessary, dedicated leadership must remain diligent and support participation, the community’s goals and benefit scheme should be reviewed systematically, successful CBE takes time, the funding process must enable the empowerment of the community, and partnerships and networks need to be utilised.

Presenting with Dr Noreen Breakey and Dr Sally Driml.

Biography

Marcus Curcija holds a PhD in community-based tourism from The University of Queensland. Marcus started his career in casino development; however, his passion to assist rural, vulnerable, and/or emerging communities inspired him to focus more on social, environmental, and economic impact solutions. Following the PhD, Marcus designed and implemented an inclusive growth strategy to assist indigenous communities in the Solomon Islands. As State Manager for a leading non-profit, Marcus was recognised for his work in public-private partnerships and collaborations for poverty alleviation. He has implemented positive livelihood impacts solutions for children and facilitated community development initiatives (e.g. community capacity building, gender empowerment, youth training) within Australia to assist immigrant, refuge, indigenous, and vulnerable community members. Marcus has also applied Green Project Management principles while adhering to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and is very interested in the market systems approach as a poverty alleviation strategy.

Louise Custance #

VIDA Landscape Architects & Planners

Louise Custance1

Abstract

Co-presenter of: After the Fire is Out
Presenting with Matthew Flynn.

Natural disasters (namely fire) can devastate communities and regional economies who depend on the land for their livelihood. Tourism and new development can provide a way forward for fire devastated regions like California and ultimately Australia. The timing of legislation changes regarding cannabis decriminalisation has provided a lifeline for tourism in northern California. Along with a history of viniculture and a myriad of thermal springs, a unique opportunity has arisen for tourism which combines health, wellness and product-based experiences. The development provides a welcome economic boost and acceleration of regrowth and habitat for a unique hospitality experience. Local government bodies can be willing to accelerate the permitting process to ‘ignite’ their disheartened communities.

As planners and landscape architects, VIDA’s role is to create projects which balance creativity, sustainability and profitability. While we always strive to reduce our environmental impact and plan for the future, we have come to realise the importance of achieving economic targets to drive conservation efforts and achieve a greater level of regeneration, particularly in regional areas. We design spaces for people to connect to their surroundings, and product-based experiences allow for an even deeper level of connection to place.

Biography

Small town South Australia is a world away from Costa Rica – both literally and metaphorically. But, when you’re offered an opportunity to meld your skills, interests, training and passion, 15,000km is hardly an obstacle. Louise completed a Master of Landscape Architecture in 2013 at the University of Adelaide and knew that the profession offered her the perfect balance between art and science, creativity and construction, chaos and order. After almost five years in Costa Rica’s beach and city studios, Louise is now living closer to home, heading up VIDA’s Australia studio on the Sunshine Coast. When she isn’t off exploring new places near and far she can be found playing sport, taking photos, speaking Spanglish, surfing, diving or cooking.

Matthew Flynn #

Director, VIDA Landscape Architects & Planners

Matthew Flynn1

Abstract

After the Fire is Out

Natural disasters (namely fire) can devastate communities and regional economies who depend on the land for their livelihood. Tourism and new development can provide a way forward for fire devastated regions like California and ultimately Australia. The timing of legislation changes regarding cannabis decriminalisation has provided a lifeline for tourism in northern California. Along with a history of viniculture and a myriad of thermal springs, a unique opportunity has arisen for tourism which combines health, wellness and product-based experiences. The development provides a welcome economic boost and acceleration of regrowth and habitat for a unique hospitality experience. Local government bodies can be willing to accelerate the permitting process to ‘ignite’ their disheartened communities.

As planners and landscape architects, VIDA’s role is to create projects which balance creativity, sustainability and profitability. While we always strive to reduce our environmental impact and plan for the future, we have come to realise the importance of achieving economic targets to drive conservation efforts and achieve a greater level of regeneration, particularly in regional areas. We design spaces for people to connect to their surroundings, and product-based experiences allow for an even deeper level of connection to place.

Presenting with Louise Custance.

Biography

Matthew draws on nineteen years of experience spanning four continents and a dozen countries. Matthew draws on his strong foundation in rural and natural landscapes and his passion to incorporate regional materials and construction methods to deliver original designs for a range of projects. Truth be told, he designs the places he’d like to be – if he ever took a break. Prior to VIDA, Matthew was partner at 40NORTH and Managing Director of their expansion into Central America, following five years with EDSA in Beijing and Fort Lauderdale. When he’s not working, he can be found surfing, riding his mountain bike, taking photos or spending time with his family.

Adam Galvin #

Development Growth Officer, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort

Abstract

Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board: why we’ve started the Destination Certification Journey

Participating in the destinations workshop, Jon Hutchins, CEO, and Adam Galvin, Development Growth Officer from Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board will discuss the ecotourism destination certification process embarked upon in 2019. The Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board is a statutory entity that is responsible for managing Crown Land at Mount Hotham, along with the provision of gas, water, waste-water processing, waste management and public transport along with environmental stewardship.

The Australian Alps are a major contributor to the Australian tourism economy, generating $707m of Gross Regional Product annually. This requires careful management of the natural features which make the Resorts such appealing destinations, including of over 100 listed species of flora and fauna.

Mount Hotham will address why they chose to embark on this certification process, what motivated them, feedback received from government stakeholders, and how the certification process has been managed internally and in conjunction with the private sector.

Biography

Adam Galvin is the Development Growth Officer at the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort. Joining the organisation in 2016, Adam brought a background in planning and Commonwealth policy to the Resort. In his role, he focusses on the effective management of and strategic planning for Crown Land within the Resort, along with the certification of the Resort as a Certified Nature Destination.

Thomas Holden #

Chief Executive Officer, Activate One

Abstract

Co-presenter of: How to Propose a Walking Trail in Queensland
Presenting with Ross McLennan.

Following on from the 2018 Global Eco Conference and David Edwards presentation “Queensland Ecotourism Trails: A Chief Executive’s insight”. Ross McLennan from Hidden valley Cabins and the three traditional owners groups from the region north of Townsville between Paluma and Wallaman Falls formed a working group to promote the idea of a 125 km walking between Paluma Village in south to the iconic Wallaman Falls in the north. Working in partnership, Ross and the Traditional owner groups, Nywagi in the South, Gugu Badham to the west and Warragamay to the north successfully approached the three local government areas the trail would pass through and where successful in getting some seed funding to engage a professional trail builder to see if the proposal was indeed achievable. A working group comprising of local government representatives, local Mayors and councillors, Traditional Owners and industry successfully promoted the trail to the State Government and the project is now being promoted to senior government officials and ministers. This presentation will show how this project went from an idea at a conference to high level talks within 12 months and this importance of involving all parties at a very early stage.

Biography

Coming soon.

Maree Treadwell Kerr #

Vice-Chair, Wildlife Tourism Australia

Maree Treadwell Kerr1

Abstract

Wildlife Tourism: evolving to meet present and future challenges and opportunities

Our presentation will define and describe wildlife tourism and how it overlaps and intercepts with ecotourism and discuss the environmental, social, cultural, and economic challenges to sustainable wildlife experiences.

Wildlife tourism can include captive wildlife and consumptive practices (hunting and fishing) and is not necessarily educational. Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA) was born out of the CRC for Sustainable Tourism, but from the outset decided not to include consumptive uses. Its objective is to promote the sustainable use of a diverse wildlife tourism industry, including well-run captive settings, that supports conservation and encourages high quality interpretation.

Challenges to this can be cultural, economic, or environmental. Examples of unsustainable visitor expectations are when visitors are encouraged or allowed to take selfies with wildlife which can result in injury or death of said animal, including culling if the animal becomes aggressive, or in wasted energy or abandonment of good feeding grounds by a frightened animal. An example of negative environmental and cultural impacts would be so-called “Eco resorts” that ignore and crowd out host communities, greenwash instead of truly minimising impacts on fauna and flora, and offer poor interpretation.

Visitor perspectives are impacted by the loss of species due to current and future climate change and ongoing habitat destruction. We will give further examples of these challenges and how the sustainable nature tourism industry can evolve and assist in mitigating impacts using a case study of an urban species affected by climate change that is still unrecognised for its tourism potential. 

Presenting with Sera Steves.

Biography

Maree is Vice-Chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA), Queensland state representative of Interpretation Australia, and Wet Tropics guide with a history of wildlife interpretation and visitor services in protected places and wildlife sanctuaries. She has a Masters of Wildlife Management and is currently undertaking a higher degree examining societal values for flying foxes by assessing impact of education/interpretation programs, including tourism potential, in changing attitudes toward flying-foxes. She is a joint convenor of the Australasian Bat Society’s (ABS) Flying-fox Expert Group and created and coordinates the annual ABS Australasian Bat Night program, including coordinating the Cairns Bat Festival since 2015. Maree has presented to national conferences of Wildlife Tourism Australia, Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Australasian Bat Society and Interpretation Australia on the subjects of bat tourism, interpretation and flying-fox management. Current projects include development of a virtual reality flying-fox experience and an Australian Bat Tourism Trail for ABS and WTA.

Janine Kitson #

Member, Gardens of Stone Alliance

Janine Kitson1

Abstract

Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone: ‘Destination Pagoda’

Yindya-ma-rra Nganga-dha Walawalang Malang, “Respect, look after this stony rock place” continues to resonate through this ancient landscape in Wiradjuri Country, known as the Gardens of Stone, home – ngurung – to Wiradjuri people.

The Gardens of Stone, located on the western edge of NSW’s Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, provides the opportunity to become a geotourism and cultural destination because of its fragile sandstone pagoda landscape - 39,000 ha of deep canyons, towering cliffs, upland swamps and endangered flora and fauna.

In March 2019 the Gardens of Stone Alliance (Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Lithgow Environment Group) launched the visitors plan ‘Destination Pagoda’ on how Lithgow could be transformed into a world class geotourism destination. This plan hopes to relieve the emerging over tourism problem currently plighting the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

This exciting opportunity begins at the gateway through Wiradjuri country in NSW’s Central West. It outlines how the regional town of Lithgow, surrounded by spectacularly scenic landscapes, can provide a sustainable economic future for its workers, community and environment. Importantly it can enhance the cultural values of Wiradjuri Country and empower Wiradjuri people.

‘Destination Pagoda’ affirms how Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone can become a world-class geotourism and cultural destination, with its significant natural and cultural heritage. It offers a vision on how to create an iconic, must-see geotourism destination, two hours away from Sydney. It incorporates strong cultural and community engagement, as well as enabling the continuation of existing primary industry activities.

Presenting with Sharon Riley.

Biography

Janine Kitson is an environmental educator who has been actively involved in supporting the protection of NSW’s natural and built heritage through her work with many of NSW’s key environment groups including the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, National Parks Association of NSW and the National Trust (NSW).

Janine has been awarded the Ryde-Macquarie Teachers Association Life Membership (2015) and NSW Teachers Federation Life Membership (2016); National Parks Association of NSW’s Allen and Beryl Strom Award (2016). Following her term as a local government councillor she was awarded the North Shore Times Community Medal for Conservation & the Environment (2010).

Janine is now teaching in adult education, at the Workers Educational Association and the University of 3rd Age in Sydney. In January 2019 Janine was invited to be the guest speaker at the 2019 National Council of Women (NSW)’s Australia Day Awards luncheon held at the NSW Parliament House Dining Room.

Janet Mackay #

Director, TRC Tourism

Janet Mackay

Abstract

The Red Centre Ride: opportunities for visitors and Indigenous communities

The Red Centre Adventure Ride is a first for Australia. It will be an extraordinary three day easy mountain bike ride across the West MacDonnell Ranges in the centre of Australia with overnight accommodation planned in luxury camps. This paper will talk about the multiple benefits the trail experience will offer from concept to delivery for the traditional owners of the land and for visitors.

The paper will discuss the concept, planning and delivery and health, economic and social benefits to be delivered through the ride including a program of training of local Aboriginal people in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the trail, and opportunities for its operation.

It will also talk about the critical importance of planning for the visitor experience as well as the physical infrastructure to make such a product a success.

Biography

Janet Mackay is the Director of TRC Tourism, a consultancy firm based in the Snowy Mountains with offices in Canberra, Alice Springs and Wellington in NZ. The company operates across Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Janet is well known as a leader in regional destination and visitor experience planning, as well as related infrastructure, product assessment and development . She is recognised in the industry for her extensive knowledge in the trail planning sector and how to improve a region’s community assets through outstanding planning. Janet works with many indigenous businesses across Australia.

Ross McLennan #

Operations Manager, Hidden Valley Cabins

Ross McLennan1

Abstract

How to Propose a Walking trail in Queensland

Following on from the 2018 Global Eco Conference and David Edwards presentation “Queensland Ecotourism Trails: A Chief Executive’s insight”. Ross McLennan from Hidden valley Cabins and the three traditional owners groups from the region north of Townsville between Paluma and Wallaman Falls formed a working group to promote the idea of a 125 km walking between Paluma Village in south to the iconic Wallaman Falls in the north. Working in partnership, Ross and the Traditional owner groups, Nywagi in the South, Gugu Badham to the west and Warragamay to the north successfully approached the three local government areas the trail would pass through and where successful in getting some seed funding to engage a professional trail builder to see if the proposal was indeed achievable. A working group comprising of local government representatives, local Mayors and councillors, Traditional Owners and industry successfully promoted the trail to the State Government and the project is now being promoted to senior government officials and ministers. This presentation will show how this project went from an idea at a conference to high level talks within 12 months and this importance of involving all parties at a very early stage.

Presenting with Thomas Holden.

Biography

Ross McLennan grew up in a small family tourism business 103 km North West of Townsville called Hidden Valley Cabins. This family business has been owned and operated by the McLennan family since 1986.

After growing up in a remote location the world called and Ross travelled abroad for 4 years, living in England and Canada were he met Chelsea. Returning to Australia in 2006, Ross and Chelsea joined the family business with a vision of niche marketing, expansion of a range of quality products with an environmental theme. That vision proved to be very successful both financially and environmentally.

The resort has also under gone major operational changes. Due to the remote location, Hidden Valley has no town amenities and is totally self-sufficient. In December 2007, Hidden Valley Cabins switched off the diesel generator and moved to an environmentally friendly power source, Solar. Since then the entire resorts electrical needs has been supplied by the sun, saving the resort up to 26000L of diesel and 78 tonnes of C02 per year. In 2011 Hidden Valley Cabins also added an additional 3 deluxe cabins to keep up with demand.

Hidden Valley Cabins now hosts over 1000 international secondary and universities students a year on faculty lead study abroad programs.

The resort has also won numerous awards including the Australian and Queensland Tourism Award for Hosted Accommodation and was recognised for Excellence in Sustainability and a Certificate of Recognition from the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Sustainability.

Dr Natasha Montesalvo #

Policy and Research Manager, Queensland Tourism Industry Council

Natasha Montesalvo

Abstract

Tourism: a path to resilient communities

The United Nations state, “It is urgent and critical to anticipate, plan for and reduce disaster risk in order to more effectively protect persons, communities and countries, their livelihoods, health, cultural heritage, socioeconomic assets and ecosystems, and thus strengthen their resilience”. Risk and resilience cannot be managed in isolation. The need for a community approach to resilience is necessary and the tourism industry offers a strong opportunity to enhance community preparedness and resilience through its network of resources.

Tourism is a $25 billion industry for Queensland and creates employment for 217,000 Queenslanders. The industry is growing, with forecasts indicating that tourism will continue to grow at a rate faster than the wider economy over the next five years. Tourism is a complex and disparate industry that touches many people and business sectors. It is part of the economic and social fabric of the community. Research emphasises that tourism builds communities, creates a sense of pride and supports the development of infrastructure to support a viable community. As a complex network of stakeholders, tourism is also a challenging industry to effectively understand and manage.

Given its role and reach, the tourism industry and its stakeholders have a significant role to play in strengthening community resilience, ensuring preparedness as we face turbulent climatic and global events and in support communities as they rebuild post disaster. This presentation will explore the roles for and commitments made by the tourism industry to strengthen community resilience and to prepare for the unexpected. It discusses a practical approach for a tourism-supported, community-based plan for resilience building.

Biography

Natasha is the Policy and Research Manager for the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC). QTIC has been acting as the ‘Voice for Tourism’ for over 15 years, representing over 3,000 members from across the state. In late 2017, QTIC partnered with Griffith University’s Institute for Tourism and the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science in the development and launch of the Tourism Sector Adaptation Plan. The Building a resilient tourism industry: Queensland climate change response plan represents an industry-led climate adaptation and mitigation road map for the tourism industry, the first of its kind globally. Part of Natasha’s role now is in working with key partners across the sector to deliver some of the key actions and work with the industry to build business resilience for a strong and sustainable future.

Kathryn Morton #

Experience Development Specialist, Tourism and Events Queensland

Kathryn Morton1

Abstract

International Approaches to Indigenous Tourism

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences are highly regarded by those who participate in them, yet Indigenous people and businesses are under-represented within the tourism industry. The Council of Australian Governments has Closing the Gap commitments to address Indigenous disadvantage, and tourism is recognized as a rare economic opportunity where Indigenous Australians have a unique advantage over non-Indigenous people. Indigenous tourism operators also recognise tourism as a path to economic independence by creating jobs for their children and communities in regional areas with relatively few alternatives, enabling communities to stay on country and perpetuate their culture and traditions.

In 2018, I undertook a Churchill Fellowship to understand the approaches of New Zealand, the Unites States and Canada to Indigenous tourism, and how those approaches resulted in higher levels of participation in Indigenous experiences by international visitors. I thought I would learn about innovative ways of marketing Indigenous experiences; however it seems their success is not due to marketing alone. Instead, it is the way in which the Indigenous tourism industry is structured, and how that system supports Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities, that is having the greatest impact.

My presentation highlights that Indigenous tourism requires a delicate balance of supply and demand. Until the supply side of Indigenous tourism is working well, it will be difficult for organisations such as Tourism Australia, state and territory tourism organisations, and regional tourism organisations to effectively create demand for the sector.

Biography

Kathryn entered tourism with a background research and subsequently combined her skills in researching emerging tourism trends with on-the-ground, grass-roots industry experience by working in hotels and resorts domestically and around the world. Kathryn has excelled in development focused roles working with tourism businesses, particularly small businesses. Her aptitude in assisting small businesses led Kathryn into the Indigenous tourism sector, where her impacts on businesses can have broader implications beyond single operators to benefit communities. She routinely demonstrates her desire and passion for Indigenous tourism and her experience, expertise and inquiring mind are valuable assets for the businesses she works with. Kathryn has a Bachelor of Psychology from Queensland University of Technology, and in 2017 was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate and design new, innovative approaches to grow and market Indigenous tourism experiences.

Dr Petina Pert #

Research Scientist, CSIRO

Petina Pert

Abstract

What do Tourism Operators’ Value Most about the Great Barrier Reef?

The Social and Economic Long-Term Monitoring Program (SELTMP) is assisting Reef managers and other decision makers within the Great Barrier Reef region to incorporate the human dimension into their planning and management. Long-term monitoring helps Reef managers understand the current status, historical trends and possible future trajectories of Reef users, industries and communities. It also helps build a picture of how industries and communities are likely to respond and cope with changes in the environment and society. Since 2013, we have surveyed more than 12,300 people including coastal residents of the Great Barrier Reef region, tourists, commercial fishers and tourism operators. We ask questions about resource dependency, use, well-being, values, aspirations, stewardship, capacity, satisfaction, understanding, perceptions of management, networks and economic viability. This presentation takes a closer look at tourism operators in the Great Barrier Reef region, including their values, perceptions and concerns about the Reef. Tourism operators remained optimistic about the future of their business in the GBR, however their trust in institutions providing GBR-related information has fallen. We also found significant increases in stated values associated with the GBR (e.g. biodiversity value, science and educational value, international icon value), the desire to take action to protect the GBR, and the proportion of tourism operators who recognise climate change as the greatest threat to the GBR. We present these and other key findings in the context of the latest tourist visitation trends and other emerging industry patterns and discuss implications and challenges for GBR tourism into the future.

Biography

Dr Petina Pert is a research scientist/spatial analyst with CSIRO Lsnd and Water based in Towsnville. Her expertise includes developing geospatial technologies and decision support tools for natural resource management as well as making data more accesible for users through visualisation and other technqiues.

Gary Rebgetz #

Director, Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia

Gary Rebgetz1

Abstract

Change: meeting the new market

There has certainly been a significant change in consumer demands looking for that unique travel experience. We address all four points required in the theme of this conference. CMCA are at the forefront of these changes as we certainly recognise and promote the benefits of the Quadruple bottom line (Environmental, Social, Cultural and Economic contributions) and are considered as a “disruptor” in the market segment because we have been able to implement significant change to the road base sector.

Queensland is an example of where change is required and quickly, as per our recently developed RV Road Tourism Situation report of 2019 identified. CMCA has become a leader in sustainable tourism and will continue.

Biography

Gary Rebgetz MBA. Director and past Chairman of CMCA, has been on the current Board for the past 5 years. An Honorary Life Member of CMCA and of Lions Club Australia. His knowledge and passion for the environment especially connected to road based travel led him to complete a MBA at age 65 years of age.

Sharon Riley #

Member, Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation

Sharon Riley1

Abstract

Co-presenter of: Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone: ‘Destination Pagoda’
Presenting with Janine Kitson.

Yindya-ma-rra Nganga-dha Walawalang Malang, “Respect, look after this stony rock place” continues to resonate through this ancient landscape in Wiradjuri Country, known as the Gardens of Stone, home – ngurung – to Wiradjuri people.

The Gardens of Stone, located on the western edge of NSW’s Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, provides the opportunity to become a geotourism and cultural destination because of its fragile sandstone pagoda landscape - 39,000 ha of deep canyons, towering cliffs, upland swamps and endangered flora and fauna.

In March 2019 the Gardens of Stone Alliance (Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Lithgow Environment Group) launched the visitors plan ‘Destination Pagoda’ on how Lithgow could be transformed into a world class geotourism destination. This plan hopes to relieve the emerging over tourism problem currently plighting the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

This exciting opportunity begins at the gateway through Wiradjuri country in NSW’s Central West. It outlines how the regional town of Lithgow, surrounded by spectacularly scenic landscapes, can provide a sustainable economic future for its workers, community and environment. Importantly it can enhance the cultural values of Wiradjuri Country and empower Wiradjuri people.

‘Destination Pagoda’ affirms how Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone can become a world-class geotourism and cultural destination, with its significant natural and cultural heritage. It offers a vision on how to create an iconic, must-see geotourism destination, two hours away from Sydney. It incorporates strong cultural and community engagement, as well as enabling the continuation of existing primary industry activities.

Biography

Sharon Riley, a strong Wiradjuri woman of the Lithgow area, has deep affiliation to Wiradjuri Country.

Sharon is a descendant of the distinguished Aboriginal leaders, Black Tracker Alec Riley and William Ferguson, renowned Aboriginal freedom fighter.

Sharon’s father Charlie Riley was the first Aboriginal to obtain a trade in NSW’s Central West. Her mother, Helen, is also a respected Wiradjuri Elder. In 2019 Sharon was awarded the ‘Citizen of the Year’ and ‘Open Citizen Achievement’.

Since 2003 Sharon has worked as the Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Officer for NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service promoting and protecting cultural values including rock art conservation, land management and cultural awareness programs.

Sharon is a member of the Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation where she has coordinated land management conservation projects for Maiyingu Marragu Aboriginal Place. Sharon is currently developing an Indigenous Rangers Program – focusing on conservation land management and establishing a Wiradjuri Cultural Centre.

Angus M Robinson #

Managing Director, Leisure Solutions®

Angus M Robinson

Abstract

Evolving Geotourism as a Key Driver of Regional Development in Australia

Geotourism is a significant emerging and growing global phenomenon. Geotourism is essentially sustainable and holistic nature-based tourism ‘that focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. Resulting from its experiential characteristics, geotourism has links with adventure tourism and ecotourism. Geotourism also embraces cultural tourism, inclusive of indigenous tourism, an approach of increasing interest to both managers of protected and unprotected areas. Under the current national Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, and as a geoscience advocacy opportunity, the AGC has decided to formulate a draft National Geotourism Strategy to accommodate the orderly development of major geotourism projects (which might include geoparks) and other activities (such as geotrails) in line with overseas trends and domestic regional development imperatives.

AGC recognises that the socio-economic benefits of geopark development, both UNESCO Global and national in scope, include the following.

  1. Measurable economic benefits - additional visitors, direct and regional economic output, household income and wages, and local employment.
  2. Through establishment of a management entity, a higher level of centralised coordination in areas of community engagement, product development, travel and hospitality services, tourism promotion/branding.
  3. Maximisation of sustainable development and management of ‘over tourism’.
  4. Provision of a framework for focus on the 10 UNESCO Topics that include culture, education, climate change, geoconservation, and sustainable development.

In complementing ecotourism, geotourism is now evolving to determine its place as a key driver of nature-based tourism as a regional development imperative for Australia.

Biography

An exploration geologist by profession and training, Angus established his business, Leisure Solutions®, in 1993 and is now engaged in ecotourism/geotourism activities. In recent years he has served as the inaugural Chair of the Geotourism Standing Committee of the Geological Society of Australia, and has recently been appointed as the Coordinator, National Geotourism Strategy (and designated spokesperson on geotourism) for the Australian Geoscience Council that represents Australia’s eight main geoscience societies. Over the past 25 years, Angus has been engaged in leadership roles relating to technology diffusion through The Warren Centre of Advanced Engineering, technology park development, and as Chief Executive of a major manufacturing industry association. His work has focused on national strategy development, particularly in developing industry linkages in the Greater China Region. In earlier years he has enjoyed various leadership roles in major Sydney tourist attractions and at the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort in Victoria.

Penny Spoelder #

Senior Associate, TRC Tourism

Penny Spoelder

Abstract

Does size really matter? A story about one of the smallest countries in the world and its journey toward sustainable tourism

Niue has the distinction of being among the world’s least populated nation states and with a future that is imperilled by the effects of climate change for which it bears absolutely no responsibility.

One of the smallest countries in the world, Niue is located partway between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. The island’s lush green jungles, limestone cliffs and shoreline reefs with perfectly clear water to 100 feet are stunning. And the thousands of visitors who visit Niue each year also think so.

Niue ke Monuina – A Prosperous Niue seeks to build a sustainable future that meets the nation’s economic and social needs while preserving environmental integrity, social stability, and the Niue culture. The achievement of Niue ke Monuina is supported by seven national development pillars and specific strategies under each of those pillars of which tourism is one.

Niue has grasped the concept of sustainable tourism early and has, with the support of its industry, established its Sustainable Tourism Policy, developed an Experience Development Strategy that focuses on the natural and cultural values of Niue, established minimum standards for its operators and has now commenced steps to become one of the first Pacific Island nations to achieve recognition as a sustainable tourism destination Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

This little country has a big agenda but its not without its challenges. This presentation will outline some of the challenges and opportunities this island nation faces on its journey towards sustainable tourism.

Biography

Penny has more than 30 years of experience working at multiple levels of tourism planning, destination development and project delivery. As a Senior Associate with TRC Tourism Penny specialises in helping destinations as they navigate the tourism development life cycle and explore sustainable tourism initiatives. She has led the planning and management of some of Australia’s most notable destinations and has worked extensively in New Zealand and in the Asia Pacific Region. Penny has won numerous awards for the design and delivery of sustainable tourism projects and has contributed to several publications on sustainable tourism in protected areas. She is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Sera Steves #

Owner, Aussie Walks and Wonders

Sera Steves

Abstract

Co-presenter of: Wildlife Tourism: evolving to meet present and future challenges and opportunities
Presenting with Maree Treadwell Kerr.

Our presentation will define and describe wildlife tourism and how it overlaps and intercepts with ecotourism and discuss the environmental, social, cultural, and economic challenges to sustainable wildlife experiences.

Wildlife tourism can include captive wildlife and consumptive practices (hunting and fishing) and is not necessarily educational. Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA) was born out of the CRC for Sustainable Tourism, but from the outset decided not to include consumptive uses. Its objective is to promote the sustainable use of a diverse wildlife tourism industry, including well-run captive settings, that supports conservation and encourages high quality interpretation.

Challenges to this can be cultural, economic, or environmental. Examples of unsustainable visitor expectations are when visitors are encouraged or allowed to take selfies with wildlife which can result in injury or death of said animal, including culling if the animal becomes aggressive, or in wasted energy or abandonment of good feeding grounds by a frightened animal. An example of negative environmental and cultural impacts would be so-called “Eco resorts” that ignore and crowd out host communities, greenwash instead of truly minimising impacts on fauna and flora, and offer poor interpretation.

Visitor perspectives are impacted by the loss of species due to current and future climate change and ongoing habitat destruction. We will give further examples of these challenges and how the sustainable nature tourism industry can evolve and assist in mitigating impacts using a case study of an urban species affected by climate change that is still unrecognised for its tourism potential. 

Biography

Sera is the owner and sole operator of Aussie Walks and Wonders, a hiking focused adventure tourism business in FNQ and is on the executive committee of Wildlife Tourism Australia (WTA). She holds a degree in Biology and Psychology with an Ethology focus and is currently working on her masters in Zoology and Ecology including research on crocodiles and blossom-bats. Sera has been in the zoo industry for 12 years working in both Australia and the United States as a zookeeper, animal trainer and wildlife presenter. Her main focus is birds and reptiles but bats have been an interest of hers since she was a child. Sera is promoting bats and tourism using a model developed by Bat Conservation International in her home state of Texas. Sera believes effective conservation includes ecotourism opportunities.

Current projects include development of a virtual reality flying-fox experience and the Australian Bat Tourism Trail.

Chris Thomas #

State Manager, Parks and Tourism, Department for Environment and Water, South Australia

Chris Thomas headshot

Abstract

Repositioning South Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service

Tourism is a super-growth sector and economic priority for South Australia, with sights firmly set on an $8 billion visitor economy by 2020. Creating jobs and unlocking new economic activity in South Australia’s regions is a key focus. This workshop will describe the ‘eco’ innovations in the government’s commitment to sustainable tourism and regional development including:

  • Increasing the number of park rangers, to ensure that national parks continue to attract visitors and play a valuable role in the ongoing conservation and care for our parks and wildlife.
  • Creating a new metropolitan national park, Glenthorne National Park, to provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve and revitalise a significant portion of urban space as an environmental and recreational precinct.
  • Opening up six reservoirs for the first time, to provide recreational fishing and other leisure activities including walking, cycling, kayaking and sailing.
  • Inviting ecologically sustainable development in national parks that is sensitive to the setting, to enable the private sector to provide high quality visitor experiences with flow on benefits to the local economy.
  • Improving information and accessibility of national parks, to enhance the recreational and nature-based tourism experiences for people with disabilities.

Key learning outcomes: How South Australia’s newly created “National Parks and Wildlife Service” is:

  • reconnecting people with parks, for a range of health and wellbeing benefits;
  • responding to the changing needs of visitors and government priorities; and
  • collaborating with local government, eNGOs, community groups and the tourism sector to reposition the value of parks.

Biography

Chris emigrated to Australia from the UK in 1993 with an honours degree in Marine Geography and a passion for the outdoors. Chris spent his first 10 years working for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as the Director of Tourism and Recreation before moving to South Australia in 2004 to help set up a network of 19 marine parks.

In 2015, Chris led the development of South Australia’s “Nature Like Nowhere Else” strategy and action plan, which remains a key driver for activating nature-based tourism in South Australia.

Chris is currently the State Manager for Parks and Tourism at the Department for Environment and Water and national chair of the Tourism and Parks Agencies Forum (TAPAF).

Scott Verdouw #

Architect, JAWS Architects

Scott Verdouw1

Abstract

Minimum Architecture: design in Tasmania’s World Heritage Areas

How should we design structures for our world heritage areas?

JAWSarchitects have attempted to answer this question when designing accommodation at Pumphouse Point and a private walking hut near Lake Rodway in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Claire world heritage area.

These buildings challenge the conventional view of luxury. Through minimal site intervention, JAWS designs allow the precious places to be the hero.

JAWS have drawn on experience learned from designing the unconventional multi-award winning Three Capes Track Cabins in the dramatic Tasman National Park.

Biography

Scott Verdouw has 20 years experience as an Architect in Tasmania and Europe. Scott loves Tasmanias’ wild side and is passionate about using low impact architecture to share these environments with others.

Scott has pioneered the use of environmentally friendly prefabricated construction techniques to reduce site impact and reduce on site work in remote areas.