Ecotourism Australia has welcomed the announcement by Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson that amendments to the state’s nature conservation laws will grow ecotourism and cut red tape for Queensland ecotourism operators.
“Queensland ecotourism operators have told us that the regulatory burden in Queensland has been a major impediment to their capacity to expand their businesses ” said Kym Cheatham CEO of Ecotourism Australia. “Given the state of the tourism industry, any assistance to high quality ecotourism operators is welcomed.”
Mr Dickson said changes to the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Forestry Act 1959 and the Brisbane Forest Park Act 1977 would increase access and streamline unnecessary and costly regulations currently choking Queensland’s national parks.
“We also welcome the potential to grow to Queensland’s ecotourism reputation though providing access and business opportunities to high quality eco accredited tourism businesses.” Ms Cheatham said.
“Key for Ecotourism Australia would be assurances that any new tourism opportunities in national parks are only provided to tourism operators that can demonstrate the highest levels of environmental sustainability and an ongoing committment to conservation and preservation of the environment in which they operate.”
Queensland can currently boasts nearly a third of all Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators.
For more information on the Queensland National Parks Minister announcement, go to: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2012/11/13/amendments-to-increase-ecotourism-and-cut-redtape
The Ecotourism Australia vision: “To inspire environmentally responsible and culturally sustainable tourism”.
Ecotourism Australia was formed in 1991 as an incorporated non-profit organisation, and is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry. Ecotourism Australia aims to grow and promote ecotourism and to assist tourism operators to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially and culturally responsible.
Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification program was a world first. It provides objective monitoring and auditing of organisations’ ecotourism claims and provides travel agents and tourists with an assurance of best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and quality ecotourism experiences.
Ecotourism Australia has since added ROC (Respect Our Culture) Certification for Indigenous Tourism operators and Climate Action Australia Certification to help the tourism industry work towards a more sustainable future.
Both ECO and ROC programs have been recognised by the Australian Government under the National Tourism Accreditation Framework of meeting the standards to carry the TQUAL trademark indicating tourism quality. For more information go to: www.ret.gov.au
In 2008, Ecotourism Australia was awarded the prestigious World Travel and Tourism Council “Tourism for Tomorrow” Award for Conservation at the World Tourism Summit in recognition of Ecotourism Australia’s significant contribution to the conservation and preservation of natural heritage.