Strategies and plans
Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2015-2020
The draft Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2015–2020 (the plan) provides the framework for building a thriving ecotourism industry and delivering new ecotourism experiences in Queensland’s spectacular national and marine parks and other natural areas. The plan outlines the government’s commitment to foster ecotourism opportunities that support the sustainable growth of the ecotourism industry, provide a positive contribution back to Queensland’s natural environment, culture and community, and strengthen the economy.
The plan is underpinned by the core values of leadership, authenticity, custodianship, innovation, conservation and collaboration to ensure sound decision-making and investment. A partnership approach between the government, tourism industry, Traditional Owners, conservation and research sectors and the community is important in achieving our objectives.
Community, industry and stakeholder feedback on the plan was obtained through an online survey which closed on 20 November 2015.
Results from the survey are now being collated and will be considered when developing the final plan which will be released in 2016.
Ecotourism Facilities on National Parks Implementation Framework
To guide ecotourism developments on national parks, in line with the Queensland Government’s strong commitment to the environment, the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, in association with the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, has revised the Ecotourism Facilities on National Parks – Implementation Framework ('the framework'). The framework sets out seven Guiding Principles and provides a transparent model for assessing and approving proposals for ecotourism facilities on national parks. It recognises that any proposed ecotourism facilities will have environmental, social and financial benefits and costs that need to be considered, and that assessment needs to occur within the context of the governing legislative provisions.
The framework explains how ecotourism facility proposals will be assessed, the matters that will be considered, and the approval and commercial arrangements for successful proposals.
The revised framework has incorporated strengthened conservation and public interest values which reflect the Queensland Government’s commitment to low impact, best practice ecotourism facilities in national parks, including:
- ensuring alternative off-national park sites have been considered first;
- a preference for proposals located on previously disturbed sites or which involve the re-use of existing redundant infrastructure;
- a contribution back to the national park estate;
- ensuring exclusive use areas associated with ecotourism facilities are restricted to only those areas that are necessary to operational requirements; and
- a position that ziplines are not appropriate for national parks.
Best Practice Ecotourism Development Guidelines
The Best Practice Ecotourism Development Guidelines (Best Practice Guidelines) assist ecotourism applicants to develop ecotourism facilities and experiences on national parks that are in the public interest, are ecologically sustainable and ensure, to the greatest possible extent, the preservation of the land's natural condition and protection of its cultural values and resources.
The Best Practice Guidelines show proponents how ecotourism facilities can be effectively integrated into national parks through awareness of:
- site values and constraints, appropriate site layout, design and construction
- low energy footprint, water and waste systems
- appropriate visitor interpretation and activities; and
- community partnerships.
The Queensland Government will use the Best Practice Guidelines to assist the assessment of preliminary concepts and to determine whether the proposed ecotourism use of a national park aligns with national park values and can be undertaken in an ecologically sustainably manner. The guidelines will also be used to assess detailed proposals where proponents are invited to progress further in the process.
Proponents should refer to the best practice ecotourism development criteria and sample prompt questions outlined in the Best Practice Guidelines when preparing their EOI submission.
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