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Tourism development in the southern wheatbelt of Western Australia. From dryandra woodland to dryandra country

Hughes, M. and Macbeth, J. (2005) Tourism development in the southern wheatbelt of Western Australia. From dryandra woodland to dryandra country. CRC for Sustainable Tourism, Gold Coast, Qld..

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Tourism development is often viewed as a means to counter the social and economic decline of communities in
regional areas of Australia. Such decline is prevalent, particularly in areas determined to be on the tourism
periphery. Peripheral regions present special problems in terms of tourism development owing to a lack of
product, market access and infrastructure. This report presents the findings of a case study focusing on the
southern Wheatbelt of Western Australia, in an area known as Dryandra Country. This is a region that is seeking
to develop tourism as a buffer against the varying fortunes of its grain and sheep based economy as well as a
means to counter the social decline of the towns. Seven local government areas (LGAs), in league with the state
conservation agency, Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) and various other interest
groups, embarked on a tourism development initiative centred on Dryandra Woodland and the wildlife tourism
product it potentially offered. The purpose was to develop Dryandra as an internationally significant naturebased
destination. This was attempted partly through constructing an iconic captive wildlife tourism facility,
Barna Mia, which housed some very rare fauna. Research during 2003 found that while Barna Mia provided a
highly satisfying experience for its visitors, there was no indication that it was progressing toward the
international tourism icon status as intended. The progress of the LGAs toward developing a coordinated
regional product also appeared to be slow. Various issues were identified that contributed to the observed
situation including: CALM’s role as the sole manager of the regional icon; the character of the tourism system in
the region; a lack of adequate and accurate tourism data and poor communication. The report provides a detailed
description of the situation as it was found in 2003. Recommendations to enable further progress in tourism
development are made.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: CRC for Sustainable Tourism
Copyright: © CRC for Sustainable Tourism Pty Ltd 2005
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