As well as conserving our biodiversity, the National Reserve System's protected areas have significant economic and social benefits. For instance:
- In 2009 the nature-based tourism sector contributed over $33 billion to the Australian economy, with more than 28 million visitors taking part in nature-based activities. Bushwalking and visiting national parks were the most popular activities for nature visitors.
- In regional Australia, tourism accounts for 9.6 per cent of total employment and more than 200,000 jobs. (DITR Tourism Facts & Figures at a Glance 2007)
- Protected areas offer visitors experiences that are uniquely Australian, such as camping, bushwalking, river cruises, educational camps, wildlife tours and engagement with Indigenous culture. For many regional economies, tourism brings much needed jobs and a new cashflow to local businesses.
- Many new non-government reserves are finding new business opportunities in ecotourism.
- The reserves not only create direct local jobs in land management, but also support businesses in rural areas by buying goods and contract services locally. In remote Australia, Indigenous Protected Areas are a powerful driver of economic development, providing communities with meaningful jobs looking after country and measurable benefits in health, education and social cohesion.
- Case study: Gawler Ranges National Park
- Case study: Kings Run
- South Australian Nature-based Tourism Strategy
- Strategy for Australia's National Reserve System 2009-2030