Nature-Based Tourism – Cairns, Australia

Nature-Based Tourism – Cairns, Australia

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Natural wonders constitute an important tourism attraction. Several different types of tourism have been developed around natural attractions. The most encompassing is a nature-based tourism. Nature-based tourism is any type of tourism that takes place in natural environment. Wildlife tourism is based on encounters with non- domesticated animals in either the animal’s natural environment or in captivity. Ecotourism is travel to relatively undisturbed natural environments for the purpose of studying and admiring landscapes, plants, animals and any cultural manifestations that may be found in such places. Most of nature-based tourism takes place in protected areas. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature a protected area is a clearly defined geographical space recognized, dedicated and managed through legal or otherwise effective means to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. Eagles suggested that more research is required for sustainable management and governance of protected areas. This includes visitor management, finance and economic impacts of protected areas. Whitelaw, King & Tolkach have suggested the framework that classifies protected areas according to two variables: one is importance for biodiversity and the second is level of visitation. Such classification can help to find appropriate means of governance, management and marketing of protected areas for long-term conservation and enjoyment of visitors. An important related issue is marketing and promotion of protected areas to increase the revenues that can be spent on management of protected areas and also for the benefit of communities located nearby protected areas. For example in Australia there are 9000 National Parks, protected areas and reserves. Therefore, it is very challenging to create an appropriate framework to market and promote the National Parks for visitors. Because of that protected areas authorities of Australia: Parks Australia, and tourism authority: Tourism Australia, have come together for a collaboration and designation of 16 iconic national landscapes that will be promoted for international and domestic visitors. We are currently in one such area: this is Wet Tropics National Landscape. And another important National Landscape is close-by, just out there. It is called Great Barrier Reef. Such collaborative programs and innovation in protected area governance are taking place in different countries around the world now, but collaboration is always a challenge. It requires different stakeholders from different sectors of economy with different objectives to come together and compromise for the benefit of all. And more innovative solutions for management and marketing of protected areas as tourist destinations are required.

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