ALMOST the entire landmass of Tasmania has been named Australia’s 15th “National Landscape” under a program to better market the nation’s most iconic ecotourism destinations.
Tasmania’s “Island Heritage” joined other recently redefined nature tourism regions, including the Wet Tropics, Australian Alps and Red Centre, being marketed overseas as Australia’s core National Landscapes.
The decision was announced in Tasmania by federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, and promised the state greater global exposure and potential tourism projects and infrastructure funds.
More than 40 per cent of Tasmania’s natural habitat is protected, and the island state is home to the Tarkine rainforest, Cradle Mountain and spectacular Wineglass Bay.
Overseas visitors cite the natural environment as the key reason for holidaying in Australia, but there is concern that many are deterred by the myriad competing nature-based destinations.
Australia has more than 600 national parks. By grouping national parks and landscapes into a few, larger regions, the program tries to simplify the message and get tourist operators and conservation bodies working together.
“Nature is the primary driver attracting overseas visitors to Australia — the creation of these 15 iconic National Landscapes is central in assisting international travellers to explore our vast and fascinating country,” Mr Burke told The Australian.
“No matter how much money any country invests in built attractions, nothing can compare with our natural assets, which are some of most spectacular on earth. “Ecotourism is a wonderful way to preserve these environments, instilling in visitors an emotional connection with the landscape and a passion for its preservation.”
Much of Tasmania’s rural midlands and central northern coast has been left out, including Launceston and the Tamar Valley.