About Queensland Ecotourism Trails
What is the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program?
The objectives of the State’s adventure and nature-based ecotourism program are to better protect, present and maintain our national parks and to work with Traditional Owner groups, councils, community and industry to create local jobs.
It’s about conservation, protecting biodiversity and offering tourism in an ecologically-sustainable manner.
The Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act) provides for development of, low-impact, purpose-built ecotourism infrastructure on national parks.
The Queensland Government also recognises the need to capture a greater share of higher yielding eco-tourists. This is reflected in the Queensland Ecotourism Strategy 2016-2020, where one of the five strategic directions is stimulating investment in new and refurbished ecotourism opportunities.
A project team from Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development (DITID), Department of Environment and Science (DES) and Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) has been established to deliver adventure and ecotourism experiences at iconic Queensland destinations, including within or adjacent to national parks, as identified by the Government. Currently they include (with additional future opportunities expected) the:
- Wangetti Trail (Tropical North Queensland);
- Thorsborne Trail (Hinchinbrook Island National Park);
- Cooloola Great Walk (Great Sandy National Park); and
- Whitsunday Island Trail (Whitsunday Islands National Park)
Program vision and objectives
Queensland is an internationally celebrated ecotourism destination, delivering world-class interpretation and experiences that support the conservation of our special natural places and unique Indigenous and cultural heritage.
The objectives of the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program are to:
- Preserve, protect and present Queensland’s treasured natural and cultural assets for future generations.
- Better position Queensland to capture the socio-economic benefits associated with the increasing demand for adventure and nature-based tourism opportunities in and around national parks.
- Develop trails located on public land, but providing opportunities for private sector investment.
- Develop a model for private sector investment in ecotourism opportunities to maximise the economic and financial benefits of opportunities that may or may not have catalytic public funding.
- Ensure local Indigenous Owners share in the ongoing economic benefits from national parks operations.
- Add new tourism offerings in and around National Parks in Queensland - and create new reasons for visitors to travel within and into the State.
- Develop nationally significant trails, known internationally and capable of attracting international visitors.
- Create new opportunities for employment through management and maintenance of the trails.
- Provide an opportunity to educate and inform people about the natural and cultural values of the area through which the trails pass.
Ecotourism plays a vital role in regional communities, generating economic and social benefits, creating resilience through sustainable employment options and local pride. Visitor and market interest in Indigenous culture presents an important opportunity for employment and business development for Indigenous Australians.
The benefits of the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program include:
- Better protection, presentation and maintenance of the State’s national parks and to work with Traditional Owner groups, councils, community and industry to create local jobs.
- A confidence-building reassurance for internal (Government) and external stakeholders in the Government’s ability to partner with industry to deliver new tourism experiences across the State.
- Encouraging and energising ecotourism opportunities in Queensland to match or compete the performances of other States.
- Aid in developing a more sustainable ecotourism industry in Queensland, especially in the regions.
- Offering significant regional (and indigenous) economic jobs and opportunities.
- Increasing tourism opportunities in regional locations knowing eco and adventure tourists stay longer and spend more money.
- Improving productivity, developing skills and increasing diversity of jobs in regions.
- Increasing attractiveness and liveability in the regions.
- Help meet the demand for diverse tourism products, attractions and services in Queensland.