Managing tourist on the top of Australia: past, present and future challenges
Geological formations such as entire mountain ranges, individual peaks and associated land formations are the foundation of tourist attractions in many parts of the world. Mount Kosciuszko, continental Australia's highest peak at 2228 masl, is the most assessable of the 'seven continental summits' and is the key attraction for visitation to the Snowy Mountains region in south-eastern Australia. This paper discusses the history of visitor use of the 'top of Australia' and the strategies used to managing this use. Attracted by the notion of scaling the continents highest point as well the area's stunning landscapes and scenery, tourist have been visiting the region for about 100 years, with a road to the summit completed in 1909. By the 1980s the road was closed to all but management vehicles and new walking tracks were provided. Currently, bushwalking and in particular, summiting Mt Kosciuszko is by far the most popular activity, with over 100,000 people visiting the alpine area each year. As a result there are a range of social issues (crowding, safety, interpretation, visitor expectations and satisfaction) and environmental issues (trampling, littering, introduction of nutrients, weeds and feral animals, changes in hydrology and removal of vegetation by infrastructure) to be managed. Current strategies for the provision of infrastructure and interpretation of this geotourism destination are discussed. We also examine the key challenges for future management of this 'high altitude' destination: dealing with the interactions between climate change and tourism use. This includes potential for further spread of weeds and feral animals, increased risk of bushfires and changes in visitation patterns as snow cover declines and there is increase promotion of summer tourism by resorts.
Proceddings of the Inaugral Global Geotourism Conference
Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified
Impacts of Tourism