Chapman, K., Horwitz, P., Scherrer, P. and Northcote, J. (2009) Tourism research to tourism practice: The need for adaptive institutions in Western Australia's Ningaloo region. In: CAUTHE 2009 18th International Research Conference, 10 - 13 February, Fremantle, Western Australia.
The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing Coral Reef, extending across 300 kilometres of coastline between Exmouth and Carnarvon. In 2001 the State Government recommended the nomination of the Ningaloo Marine Park for World Heritage listing. The area is now widely marketed as a one of Western Australia’s premier tourism destinations (Western Australian Tourism Commission, 2003) and, given the area’s unique attractions, visitor numbers are ever increasing (Wood & Dowling, 2002). However, tourism development to date has been somewhat ‘ad hoc’ (Wood, 2003) and the social, ecological and economic sustainability of tourism in the area is being challenged on numerous fronts by over-burdened infrastructure, waste generation, high impact developments, effects on visitor experience, site erosion, fishing pressure, accommodation shortages and crime (Western Australian Planning Commission, 2004; Northcote & McBeth, 2008).