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Protected area management: collection and use of visitor data. Volume 2: State agency overviews

Griffin, T., Moore, S., Crilley, G., Darcy, S. and Schweinsberg, S. (2010) Protected area management: collection and use of visitor data. Volume 2: State agency overviews. CRC for Sustainable Tourism, Gold Coast, Queensland.

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The management of protected areas in Australia is highly complex. Each state and territory government has its own agency that is broadly responsible for the conservation and management of areas including wilderness, national parks, forests and marine parks. In addition, there are agencies at the Federal Government level that manage such areas within Commonwealth territories and territorial waters. Managing protected areas in Australia has become more challenging due to increasing levels of visitation during the past few decades (Wardell & Moore, 2004), which represents not just a potential threat to the conservation of natural and cultural values but a challenge in its own right. The various agencies must not only conserve these values but also provide a broad range of recreational opportunities within their estates, which enable visitors to appreciate the heritage that is being protected. There is consequently a need to understand the desires and expectations of visitors.

In these circumstances, monitoring is vital for effective protected area management and requires the systematic gathering, analysis and integration into management systems of data relating to both the natural environment and visitors over time. While monitoring has historically focused on the physical and biological aspects of the environment, the systematic collection of visitor data has been an area generally overlooked by protected area managers who have relied instead on ad hoc approaches (ANZECC, 1996; Archer, Griffin, & Hayes, 2001; Muhar, Arnberger & Brandenburg, 2002; Wardell & Moore, 2004). Australia’s protected areas agencies, in partnership with the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC), have recognised that this situation needs to be remedied if they are to adequately plan for and manage visitor use over the coming decades. STCRC’s Sustainable Resources Steering Committee identified the need to improve the quantity, quality and range of data relating to visitors to protected areas and, where appropriate, to establish nationally consistent methods of visitor data collection across agencies. This research project was initiated in order to pursue these broad goals.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: CRC for Sustainable Tourism
Copyright: © CRC for Sustainable Tourism Pty Ltd 2010
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