An investigation into factors that may affect the long term environmental and economic sustainability of tourism in northern Australia

Prideaux, Bruce (2013) An investigation into factors that may affect the long term environmental and economic sustainability of tourism in northern Australia. Working Paper. Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to identify factors that may affect the long term environmental and economic sustainability of tourism in northern Australia. The paper does not suggest a set of recommendations about specific actions to deal with the future but does offer observations about how the tourism industry can respond to the challenges that the future will generate.

A three stage research methodology was employed commencing with a literature review of past reports and academic research followed by an environmental scan to identify major factors that may affect the study region in the future and concluding with interviewers with stakeholders from across the study region. The paper reviews a wide range of factors including the impact of long term structural changes, ongoing evolution of consumer demands for tourism experiences, changes in source markets and climate change. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the tourism industry in the study region could respond to the issues raised in this research.

The following points summarise the major findings of this research:

• Between 1999 and 2012 there was no growth in the tourism industry in the study region.

• There is no substantive evidence to suggest that the study region's natural environment is being used in an unsustainable manner by the tourism industry.

• This situation may change in the long term if the impact of climate change reduces the resilience of the region's ecosystems.

• The long term economic sustainability of the region's tourism industry is being adversely affected by the growing mismatch between consumer demand and what the region has chosen to supply.

• In the long term, continued over reliance on the region's ecosystems to attract tourists is likely to lead to ongoing stagnation.

• New investment targeted at new markets and offering new experiences will be required to overcome the stagnation experienced in the period between 1999 and 2012.

• There is little evidence that stakeholders realize the need for new activities and experiences to augment the study region's current suite of environmental experiences.

• The ongoing health of the region's tourism economy is closely tied to the health of the region's ecosystem.

Item ID: 30100
Item Type: Report (Working Paper)
ISBN: 978-0-9875922-7-9
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Additional Information:

This report is part of The Future of Northern Australia Discussion Paper Series.

This discussion paper is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence. You are free to copy, communicate and adapt this work, so long as you attribute James Cook University [The Cairns Institute] and the author.

Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2013 02:39
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 30%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150605 Tourism Resource Appraisal @ 70%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900303 Tourism Infrastructure Development @ 50%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 50%
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