Managing People in Australian Parks: Commercial Operations Management

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Buckley, Ralf
McIntosh, Natasha
Guest, Michaela
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Ralf Buckley


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Nature tourism within national parks and other protected areas is growing rapidly throughout Australia. The sustainability of this growth relies upon maintaining the quality of the natural environment which visitors come to experience. Across the country, land managers are confronted with similar visitor management issues, and these issues are equally relevant for tourism operators. At a national level, a new Ministerial Council (previously ANZECC) provides a coordinating mechanism between national parks agencies; and the Ecotourism Association of Australia (EAA) provides one within the nature tourism industry. To date there has been no formal national coordination between land managers and the tourism industry. The newly established Tourism and Protected Area Forum (TAPAF) has recently started to provide an informal forum for coordination. To provide park agencies and tourism industry representatives with up to date information on the management of nature-based tourism in Australian national parks, the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism carried out a national review of the current management practices of national park agencies in relation to nature tourism, under the overall title 'Managing People in Australian Parks.' Results are described in a series of reports, covering aspects such as fees, permits, risk and asset management, and visitor services. This review includes national parks managed by Parks Australia, but does not include the operations of other Commonwealth agencies such as the Wet Tropics Management Authority except in so far as these occur jointly with State and Territory agencies. It covers only terrestrial national parks, not marine parks such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In general it includes only lands designated as national park; i.e. IUCN Category 2 reserves. Other categories of protected areas are not included except where specified. These reports do not aim to make best practice recommendations regarding park management practices. Each park agency has its own special circumstances and political frameworks. The purpose of this project is not to produce a single unified national approach. Rather, the aim is to provide accessible information and reduce duplication of effort between park agencies, and to improve the consistency in approach for tour operators. State-by-state data are presented in geographical sequence from west to east and north to south. No order of priority or significance is implied.

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© 2001 CRC for Sustainable Tourism. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, established and supported under the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres Program, funded this research.

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