Nature-Based Tourism - Key Facts
- Victoria’s Nature-based Tourism Strategy 2008-2012, jointly developed and funded by Tourism Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment, provides a coordinated and strategic approach to policy, planning, development and marketing of the nature-based tourism sector to optimise the economic, social and environmental benefits to Victoria. It is the first major whole-of-government approach to the nature-based tourism sector.
- The Strategy has been developed on the premise that Victoria’s national parks and other areas of public land attract significant visitor numbers, and that a higher economic yield could be captured through appropriate development that ensures a viable and environmentally sustainable nature-based tourism industry.
- The Strategy aims to increase awareness and the economic performance of the nature-based tourism sector, as well as sustain the beauty and condition of Victoria’s natural assets.
- Strategy development commenced in 2005 with an extensive consultative process involving 500 industry and other stakeholders in developing and finalising the strategy. The draft Strategy was released on 27th June 2007 for public comment and was prepared following extensive industry research and consultation.
- Overall, stakeholder feedback on the draft strategy was positive and represented few challenges to finalise the strategy. 220 key stakeholders participated nine workshops, three reference group meetings and provided formal submissions on the draft strategy.
- Nature-based tourism encompasses a diverse range of experiences, attractions and activities. Defined as any type of tourism that relies on attractions directly related to the natural environment, examples of nature-based tourism include ecotourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism, and extractive tourism such as fishing and gold panning.
- The direct and indirect contribution of the tourism industry to the Victorian economy is $10.9 billion per year. 37 per cent of domestic visitors and 77 per cent of international visitors undertake at least one nature-based tourism activity during a trip, making nature-based tourism one of the most important markets within the tourism industry.
- Nature-based tourism continues to grow at a faster rate than the overall tourism sector. Ecotourism alone is growing globally at 20 per cent per annum compared with just 7 per cent for tourism overall.
- Victoria’s national parks attract the highest visitor numbers in Australia (28.6 million to protected area parks in 2004/05). Despite this, research indicates that Victoria is not perceived as a highly sought after nature-based tourism destination when compared to other Australian states.
- There is intense global competition within the nature-based tourism sector with overseas destinations developing high quality facilities in spectacular surrounds, many of which are located within national parks.
- The three government agencies leading the Nature-based Tourism Strategy 2008-2012 recognise the importance of working in partnership with the industry, local government and communities to grow nature-based tourism in Victoria and achieve the best possible development outcomes.
- The Strategy aims to create a sustainable nature-based tourism industry, foster higher operating standards, encourage more business investment, boost and diversify regional economies, and improve the competitive positioning of Victoria as a nature-based tourism destination.
- Five key priority nature-based tourism development areas in Victoria have been identified: the Great Ocean Road; Phillip Island; the Grampians; Gippsland and the High Country. Major projects and activities slated for implementation will be rolled out in a phased approach:
- Phase 1: Great Ocean Road (including the Otways) and the Grampians;
- Phase 2: Phillip Island and Gippsland; and
- Phase 3: High Country.
- Projects and activities will be guided by Victoria’s Environmental Sustainability Framework. It will encourage the sustainable use of Victoria's natural environment to limit the sector's impact on our precious ecosystems and biodiversity.
- The Strategy also encourages the adoption of carbon reduction initatiatives by the nature-based tourism sector to help combat climate change and aims to educate the visitors and tourism providers on ways to minimise their impact on the environment.
- The Strategy will link and integrate nature-based tourism experiences with Victoria’s existing tourism strengths. As many of Victoria’s national parks and protected areas have a rich Aboriginal heritage, where appropriate, the Strategy seeks to raise the profile of this heritage and link these experiences to nature-based tourism.
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 February 2011 )