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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Coastal Tourism - A Manual for Sustainable Development

Based on a draft paper prepared by Southern Cross University
Portfolio Marine Group, Environment Australia, 1997
ISBN 0 642 27129 1

Background to this manual

The Commonwealth Coastal Policy has identified coastal tourism as a major and significant growth industry. The policy also recognised that growth required guidance, particularly with respect to environmental criteria. This is particularly significant if you consider that the coastal tourism industry's primary asset is the coast, and that degradation of that resource will limit the growth and sustainability of the tourism industry, and coastal development in general.

In December 1995 a Steering Committee comprising representatives from Tourism Council Australia, the Australian Local Government Association, the Royal Australian Planning Institute, Environment Australia (Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories) and the Office of National Tourism (a division of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science and Tourism) commissioned a team from Southern Cross University. Their task was to produce a document providing guidance and advice on how to make coastal tourism developments ecologically sustainable.

The resulting document, Coastal Tourism: Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development, was released for comment in September 1996. The document was the result of a literature review and workshops with participants from the tourism industry, local, state and Commonwealth government, professional associations and community interest groups. A related background document, Environmental Guidelines for Tourism Planning and Management in the Coastal Zone of Australia, was also produced and used to stimulate discussion at those workshops.

This manual is a revision and amalgamation of those two documents, and has been amended on the basis of comments received. Over 70 written submissions were received from local, state and Commonwealth governments, community groups, Indigenous organisations, professional associations, academics and consultants. While the vast majority of comments were supportive and positive, they highlighted gaps in the documents and suggested valuable ways to improve presentation and readability.

Our response to comments received has involved a change in name to reflect the practical focus of this document. We hope that it provides a stimulating tool to help tourism developers and operators, and those involved in the approval process for development applications, make future tourism developments environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The Steering Committee is keen to receive feedback on the content and presentation of this document, and on where future projects should be focused. You will find a proforma and an email address for this purpose at the back of this manual.