Margaret River, Western Australia
1–3 December 2020


Dr Steve Crawford

Visitor Communications and Marketing Manager, Parks and Wildlife Service WA

Dr Steve Crawford



Steve Crawford is currently the Visitor Communications and Marketing Manager for the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Prior to joining the Department he had more than twenty-five year’s senior management experience with the Western Australian Tourism Commission (Tourism Western Australia) and Rottnest Island Authority. A past National Tourism Award recipient, Steve has a wealth of tourism industry experience in such areas as tourism destination planning, market research, trade marketing, tourism development and business enterprise development. He has represented Western Australia on numerous national taskforces and committees in such areas as Indigenous tourism, climate change, ecotourism, tourism planning and cruise shipping.

Steve is currently Deputy Chair, Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism, a member of Edith Cowan University’s Tourism and Hospitality Consultative Committee, ex officio board member of Australia’s Coral Coast, and alumni member of the Curtin Business School Marketing Advisory Board

His qualifications include undergraduate degrees in geography, social anthropology, regional planning and business as well as a Master of Business and Doctor of Business Administration.

Steve is Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and a Certified Practicing Marketer


Building Stronger Communities, Naturally

Increasingly, natural assets are viewed by local communities as key contributors to regional economic development. The Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park and the newly opened Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park provide illustrative examples of the important role played by protected area managers in fostering sustainable nature based tourism.

The Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park (The Gap) illustrates how an existing visitor attraction can be rejuvenated. The project transformed a tired, run-down and outdated site into a word-class visitor attraction using a combination of state-of-the-art design and outstanding environmental sensitivity.

The site was officially re-opened in April 2016. Since then visitation has significantly increased and remained manageable. With a total project investment of $6.1 million significant and measurable economic impacts were achieved. Such projects need to be at a sufficient scale to create the required drawing power and be truly transformative.

A second example of transformative nature-based tourism development within a protected area can be drawn from the Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park. Officially opened in June 2020 the Skywalk illustrates how new product development can be used to create economic stimulus for a nearby community. As with The Gap project, scale is required to deliver both management and economic outcomes.

With a $19.2 million infrastructure investment the project needed to demonstrate significant tourism outcomes for the Kalbarri region as well as meet the highest levels of sustainability in design construction and engagement with Traditional Owners.

The aim of this Parks and Wildlife Service presentation is to share examples of current practice in nature-based tourism development.

Travel to WA now open to QLD, TAS, SA, NT, ACT!