The 26th Global Eco Asia-Pacific conference heads north to Townsville, Queensland

Global Eco Asia-Pacific is the world’s leading, and longest running ecotourism conference. This reputation hasn’t been achieved by accident. Global Eco Asia-Pacific brings together delegates from industry, protected area management agencies, tourism commissions and academia to focus on developing the ecotourism industry. Indigenous ecotourism is also a key part of the conference focus. The strength of the conference lies in the fact that key players come together around the one table and deal with the big policy issues, the disruptive market issues and the enormous opportunities.

This year is the International Year of the Reef, a theme which aligns perfectly with our location in Townsville - flanked by both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Townsville is also home to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. We will explore the challenges and opportunities for reef based ecotourism in an era when the world’s reef systems are under significant pressure. I would like to encourage protected area managers, operators and conservation agencies involved in reef management and reef tourism to attend this year’s conference.

The engagement of protected area managers with ecotourism continues to evolve and we now see the emergence of strategic partnerships, co-investment and privately funded conservation across many jurisdictions. The 2018 conference will highlight trends, policy and case studies related to tourism on protected areas.

It is twelve years since the conference was held in Townsville and we hope to emulate the huge success of that event. The 2006 Conference was a stand-out example of engaging both the local community and businesses and global ecotourism organisations. The 2018 Ecotourism Australia Conference Committee, led by Mr Innes Larkin is aiming to make this year’s conference best yet. With the strong backing of our key sponsors, partners and supporters this aim will be achieved!

Tony Charters, AM
Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference