Australia should focus on developing a more profitable tourism industry based on attracting high-value visitors with high quality, truly sustainable experiences rather than an endless pursuit for growth in visitor numbers, according to Kym Cheatham, Chief Executive of Ecotourism Australia.

“It is time to reinvent Australian tourism, rather than rehash the reasons for the protracted downturn we are stuck in,” said Ms Cheatham ahead of the Global Eco Asia Pacific ecotourism conference in Cairns, 15-17 October.

“The endless pursuit of growth in numbers is a hollow ambition, with mass tourism bringing profitless volume.

“High quality experiences founded on financially viable, environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism products offers an alternative course.

“What we are doing is not working and many smaller regional tourism operators and communities need us to come up with a more successful and viable paradigm,” said Ms Cheatham.

Ms Cheatham points to the burgeoning ecotourism industry across the Asia Pacific region, which is being embraced by governments and industry, as evidence of the opportunities.

“Ecotourism is front and centre for countries including Malaysia, Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia.

“Australia is one of the most desired landscapes in the world, with unique native flora and fauna and an indigenous culture that resonates with visitors from around the globe,” said Ms Cheatham.

“I think we can take inspiration from South Africa which doesn’t apologise for the cost involved in high quality safaris. It’s about focussing on the experiences that are unrivalled that people will travel for at any cost.

“The opportunity to reframe Australia tourism is beckoning.”

The Global Eco Asia Pacific Ecotourism conference will address a wide agenda, looking at best practice, development opportunities and innovation with a line up of international and Australian speakers.

A full conference program is available at


For more information contact: Kym Cheatham 0427 279 414

Michelle Farquhar, Media & Communications 0432 334 994

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