Central Queensland University

06/16/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2017 17:40

Sustainability a vital key for ensuring Australia’s tourism future

When it comes to tourism - sustainability is vital to ensure its future.
That's the general consensus from anyone that has anything to do with tourism - from CQUniversity's Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities (CTRO) academics to tourism students as well as tourism operators.

'If we're not sustainable we don't have an industry in the future,' Cairns tourism operator of reef trip company Passions of Paradise Alan Wallish says.

And CQUniversity associate lecturer in tourism Dr Michelle Thompson agrees.

'As sustainability is the future of tourism, understanding how tourism businesses and the wider industry achieve sustainability is central to our teaching and research,' Dr Thompson says.

'Examples of sustainable forms of tourism include eco-tourism, geo-tourism, volun-tourism and responsible tourism - all of which are growing industries.'

Dr Thompson says sustainable tourism can be described as tourism that accounts for its current and future economic, environmental and social impacts by addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, host communities and the environment.

'Achieving sustainability in businesses and destinations requires participation from the various stakeholders, strong leadership within industry and government, and informed decision-making to identify and implement improved practices,' she explains.

Dr Thompson says that Passions of Paradise is one of the many tourism operators that work closely with CQUniversity to achieve best results when it comes to sustainable tourism.

'Our connection with CQUni goes back to Professor Bruce Prideaux (tourism developer) who I worked with on a number of social research projects and he used our vessel as a platform for a lot of his research,' Mr Wallish says.

Passions of Paradise has been operating in Cairns for 30 years and Mr Wallish says many changes had been made to ensure sustainability in that time.

'We started as a small reef boat and we're now on the third version of that having recently launched Passions 3. Last year we carried around 27,000 to the reef and we're hoping for 40,000 this year. While that sounds like we might be making a greater impact, it's quite the opposite because while our new boat carries 50 per cent more passengers, instead of adding a vessel to the fleet we have taken ideas from the old boat and improved on them to lessen our footprint,' Mr Wallish explains.

'As opposed to other companies that have three to four on a fleet, we upscale and use the same amount of carbon emission with more passengers to enjoy the ecotourism experience.'

Master of Sustainable Tourism Management student Margie McKenzie works on, and lives next to, the Great Barrier Reef and agrees that sustainable use of our natural resources is imperative.

'We need to use the knowledge we already have and build new business out of sustaining nature,' Margie says.

'That can be done in so many ways - building coral gardens sponsored by tourists is one great example.'

This year marks the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and CQUniversity's CTRO will celebrate in a number of ways with special events, information sessions and public lectures to be held across Far North Queensland throughout the year. More information on the events will be announced in the coming weeks.