“Ecotourism has the potential to provide jobs and protect the environment at the same time as being a major plank in an export oriented, low carbon economy".
With one of the highest concentrations of ecotourism operators in the world, Cairns and Port Douglas will play host to the 20th Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism conference in 2012.
Staged by Ecotourism Australia and convened by one of the industry’s most respected pioneers, Mr Tony Charters, Global Eco Asia Pacific has been central to the industry since its inception twenty years ago.
“With two world heritage areas on the doorstep and the Great Barrier Reef linking with the Coral Triangle – often referred to as the “Amazon of the Sea” – it is not surprising this area has one of the highest concentrations of ecotourism operators in the world,” said Mr Tony Charters.
“Having just about invented ecotourism, Australia has lost its way in recent years, and with the stunning array of natural landscapes we have and the need for jobs and low carbon export industries, ecotourism should be a ‘no-brainer’ for this country.
“With the rising middle class of Asia on our doorstep there is a growing demand for high quality, authentic opportunities for people to connect with nature and escape the pressures of fast-paced, urban life.
“Ecotourism has the potential to provide jobs and protect the environment at the same time as being a major plank in an export oriented, low carbon economy.
“Our challenge is to engage governments and to place this economic opportunity at the centre of public debate.
“This industry needs a long term commitment from governments for infrastructure and to actively engage private enterprise.
“It cannot be seen as a quick fix when the resource sector slumps, and with the realities of climate change already apparent, it is no longer a niche or fringe concept.”
Ecotourism Australia already has an internationally acclaimed certification framework to provide credibility for operators, and is hopeful government will start to guide the tourism industry to widespread adoption of sustainable practices.
The industry also offers potential for indigenous communities to capitalise on the significant appetite international visitors have for Aboriginal culture, which is currently being underserviced.
The conference will be held in October or November, with dates to be finalised in coming months.
Source = Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference