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Challenges for sustainable regional tourism: A best practice model for low-impact nature-based tourism facilities in remote areas

Beyer, D., Elber, B., Spring, F., Revell, G., Anda, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-7398-4192 and Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (2003) Challenges for sustainable regional tourism: A best practice model for low-impact nature-based tourism facilities in remote areas. In: International Sustainability Conference, 17 - 19 September, Fremantle, Western Australia

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In the wake of a major tourism development proposal being refused for the Coral Coast region of Western Australia there is again a focus on developing strategies for more sustainable facilities that support ‘low-impact nature-based tourism’. The Environmental Technology Centre at Murdoch University, together with the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Visual Arts at The University of Western Australia, is undertaking a study for the CRC for Sustainable Tourism to develop a Best Practice Model for Sustainable Tourism Facilities in Remote Areas. There are currently numerous environmentally sustainable guidelines, accreditation schemes and assessment systems in operation throughout the world and in Australia. The majority of these relate to the niche eco-tourism market and include the Draft International Ecotourism Standard and NEAP (Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Program). There is also a clear and generally accepted industry understanding of what constitutes the principles and standards of sustainable tourism. Yet there is industry concern about the difficulty and cost of compliance and gaining accreditation to be considered as sustainable. This project will develop a holistic and independently verifiable ‘best practice’ assessment system that is both user friendly for operators and also sets an aspirational and creative cross-cultural bar across the full range of sustainability criteria for low impact, nature based facilities. The project has involved visits to a number of low-impact facilities throughout Australia with the intention of assessing the implementation of guiding principles and to apply the assessment criteria to such facilities. The challenges that face implementation of such a model include economic viability for industry, acceptance by Local Government Authorities, and the appropriate mechanisms to assess and license such developments in nature conservation reserves by State Government agencies.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: Environmental Technology Centre
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