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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
The Hon. Warren Entsch
22 July 2003
A report launched today into nature-based tourism has highlighted the positive environmental and economic benefits which can flow from joint ventures between tourism operators and national park managers.
Federal Tourism Parliamentary Secretary, Warren Entsch, and Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp welcomed the report - Pursuing Common Goals: Opportunities for tourism and conservation - saying it would pave the way for better planning between tourism operators and park managers.
"The clear message from the report is that cooperation between tourism operators and park managers increases sustainable nature-based tourism opportunities and contributes to strong conservation outcomes," Mr Entsch said in launching the report at the start of the Tourism Futures convention at Noosa, Queensland.
"Tourism operators should be encouraged to forge cooperative partnerships with park managers, to develop new ecotourism products in regional Australia, and to take an active role in the management and protection of our important environmental areas.
Dr Kemp said that the report highlighted many opportunities for sustainable tourism that had also been identified by the Federal Environment Protection and Heritage Council in its recently released paper Going Places: Developing natural and cultural heritage tourism in Australia.
"Through national cooperation and collaboration we are identifying many practical ways to develop sustainable tourism while caring for Australia's exceptional national parks, world heritage areas and marine parks," Dr Kemp said.
Nature-based tourism plays an important role in Australia's $70 billion tourism industry, with over 84 million visits to national parks in 2001-02 contributing an estimated $54 million in direct revenue for park management agencies.
Mr Entsch said Pursuing Common Goals provides a framework to overcome barriers in nature-based tourism which include a lack of industry accreditation systems, insufficient data on park tourism and its economic impact and the under-utilisation of marketing to effectively influence visitor expectations.
Examples of successful partnerships between tourism operators and park managers are also featured in the report through a series of best-practice case studies.
The report was developed in consultation with tourism operators, government, conservation agencies and protected area managers.