Sustainable Tourism in Australia

The objective of this report is for you the reader to gain a greater understanding on the sustainable tourism used within Australia. Their policies, tourism strategies, impacts, and any current issues or future issues which hope to be done to improve the sustainability within Australia.

Australia, full name Commonwealth of Australia measures 7.68million sq km, it has a population of over 19.5 million people. The capital city is Canberra, but many think Sydney is the capital.

It was believed around 100 million years ago that Australia was part of the Great Southern continent Gondwana.

About 50-60 million years ago Gondwanaland broke up and Africa, India and Australia broke up, now leaving Australia a country of its own.

“What is sustainable tourism?”

According to the National Geographic Online sustainable tourism is informative, it supports integrity of place, it benefits residents, conserves resources, respects local culture and tradition, it does not abuse its product, it strives for quality, not quantity and it means great trips.

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This is saying that sustainable tourism as a whole should not only be for the country itself, but also for the people living and visiting the country, for the past and present visitors. Keeping up all of the points the National Geographic Online stated this will not only help the travellers learn about the destination they are travelling to, it also helps sustain its character while deepening their travelling experience. They can help the local residents in the destination, be environmentally aware of the problems, and not to make them worse such as minimising pollution, waste, energy consumption, water usage, landscaping chemicals and unnecessary night time lighting.

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Quality, not quantity being the communities measure the tourism success not by sheer number of visitors, but by the length of stay, money spent there and the quality of the experience meaning satisfied visitors will bring their new knowledge home and send their friends to the same experience, which will provide more continuing business for the destination, with good information on the country and sustainable tourism.

“Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, and biological diversity, and life support systems”

The quote above about sustainable tourism was taken from World Tourism Organisation (WTO) it is very similar to what the National Geographic Online has to say about sustainable tourism. Both talking about making sure the destination is to be protected and enhanced for future visitors.

I will now go on to the Sustainable tourism in Australia and their policies, strategies and impacts.

Tourism in Australia

“The challenge of Australia is to encourage the development and management of tourism products and services that will provide economic or social benefits to local communities while protecting and enhancing our natural and cultural attributes.”

This quote was taken from the Tourism Australia website, it highlights that Australia is trying to encourage development and management of tourism products whilst providing economic and social benefits to the local people. Read about achievements of Africa before European arrival

Tourism Australia is a Federal Government statutory authority responsible for international and domestic tourism marketing as well as the delivery of research and forecasts for the sector. They were first established in the Australia parliament on 18th June 2004, and officially commenced in July 2004. The new organisation brings together the collective skills and knowledge of four separate organisations which include: the Australian Tourist Commission, See Australia, the Bureau of Tourism Research and Tourism Forecasting Council.

Tourism Australia’s main objectives under their Tourism Australia Act 2004 are to:

* Influence people to travel to Australia, including for events;

* Influence people to travelling to Australia to also travel throughout Australia;

* Influence Australians to travel throughout Australia, including for events;

* Help foster a sustainable tourism industry in Australia and

* Help increase he economic benefits to Australia from tourism.

Protection and Conservation are essential for sustainable growth of the tourism industry, Tourism Australia has devised a sustainable tourism plan which involves:

* Developing beneficial partnerships which contribute to the long term environmental, social and economic sustainability of the tourism industry,

* Developing a reliable knowledge base to enable effective decision making processes which integrate both long term and short term economic, environmental and social considerations,

* Creating a sustainable tourism focus for Tourism Australia marketing activities,

* Creating a high profile for best practice sustainable tourism product; and

* Continuous improvement of Tourism Australia corporate environmental performance.

They are working together with the department of industry, tourism and resources, state tourism organisation and industry partners to help fulfil these commitments and to ensure responsible development and promotion of their industry.

Leave No Trace

Tourism Australia also works with the Aboriginal tourism industry through the Indigenous Tourism Leadership Group and Aboriginal Tourism Australia to ensure expectations and use of Aboriginal tourism products are sustainable and do not negatively impact on the Aboriginal society. Tourism Australia developed a brochure on Aboriginal tourism in Australia in conjunction with the STOs and the Commonwealth department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.

To help with managing the increasing impact of visitors to Australia’s cultural and natural tourist attractions, Australia have come up with a “Leave No Trace” educational programme.

“Leave No Trace” provides a framework to help better educate users of natural and cultural heritage areas.

The “Leave No Trace” Seven Principles:

* Plan ahead and prepare

* Travel and camp on durable surfaces

* Dispose of waste properly

* Leave what you find

* Minimise campfire impacts

* Respect wildlife and

* Be considerate of other visitors.

Tourism Australia works together with many different members to make all their policies, strategies and impacts work well.

These members include:

* Adelaide convention and tourism authority

* Brisbane Marketing

* Cairns an region convention bureau

* Canberra convention bureau

* Gold coast tourism bureau

* Melbourne convention and visitors bureau

* Northern territory convention bureau

* Perth convention bureau

* Sunshine coast convention bureau

* Sydney convention and visitors bureau

* Tasmania convention and visitors bureau

* Townsville convention bureau

* Tourism Whitsundays

They have been quite successful so far with these members but a lot of work is still needed to complete their successful work.

10 Year Plan

Australia had devised a 10 year plan which has already been put into place; this plan is intended to provide a framework to assist the tourism industry, working together with the government to achieve specific outcomes that will be economically, culturally and environmentally rewarding to the people of Australia and also sustainable.

Within the next decade the tourism forecasting council will be expecting over 10.4 million visitors per year to be visiting Australia by 2012. The development of an inclusive 10 year plan has the potential to provide broad benefits to and beyond the industry itself. This will include benefits to regional communities and businesses as well as the Australia tourism industry. The aims of the 10 year plan are to:

* Develop, in consultation with industry and other key stakeholders, options for achieving sustainable growth in the tourism industry in general and regional tourism in particular,

* Identify and address regulatory and financial impediments to growth,

* Identify and address the social, cultural and environmental issues necessary to achieve sustainable outcomes,

* Provide a timeframe and process for implementation of the plan by all stakeholders and

* Identify significant overlaps and synergies in organisational structures and activities (in both the private and public sectors) and seek to harmonise these in order to reduce duplication and to leverage outcomes.

The 10 year plan has been in place for a few years and there are many years left so until the 10 years are up I am able to analyze the value of this plan.

The plan is a total of 114 pages of in depth information on how they will improve Australia and their tourism. There are many chapters in the 10 year plan which includes: the background of the plan, Australia and world tourism, the challenges of tourism in Australia, domestic, outbound and inbound forecasts, the investment and infrastructure, the marketing which is being put in place to help Australia, the competition, the sustainable development and finally the management risks which are involved.

Responsible Nature-based Tourism Strategy

Australia, also have a “Responsible Nature-based Tourism Strategy 2004-2009”. This strategy realistically looks at the opportunities and challenges in nature-based tourism in Australia and seeks alliance and benefits beyond tourism itself. The strategy is concerned with how we care for and present our natural environment for people to learn from and also to enjoy. It seeks to obtain tourism benefits from the environment such as, income and jobs while also providing benefits for the environment such as the revenue for its protection and management.

The South Australian Tourism Plan

Another plan but this time just for Southern Australia is the “The South Australian Tourism Plan 2003-2008.” This plan is a high level, exciting plan which will provide direction and purpose to the state’s $3.4billion (2001) tourism industry and all its partners over the next five years.

This plan is the product of an extensive consultation process conducted throughout Australia, which has examined the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry. The vision and directions which has been described in the plan has received enthusiastic support from both the industry and the government.

The plan paves the way for harnessing the opportunities in tourism, by developing South Australia as a ‘speciality’ destination even more than it already is and will do this by improving the tourist experience through sustainable destination development. To accomplish this, the plan had established a framework to help create a positive policy framework; improving visitor access and tourism infrastructure; further improving targeted marketing and also to strengthen the prosperity and professionalism of the industry.

Tourism White Paper Initiatives

The tourism white paper initiative is a high level strategy released by the Australian Prime Minister John Howard in November 2003. The white paper aims to strengthen competition within the global market. It is a plan involving substantial new investment and restructuring, with the central aim of working closely with industry to further develop markets and extend the reputation as one of the world’s greatest travel destinations.

It outlines a suit of measures to assist the Australian tourism industry to become more sustainable over the next coming years.

It is a total of 69 pages long and includes plenty of detailed information on future events to what is going to be done to help improve Australia and to help the country as a whole, currently and also in the future. A long term vision of the plan is to:

* Offer tourists a unique Australian experience of such quality and value that they will want to re-experience them and encourage family and friends to do so,

* Support a diversity of sustainable and profitable enterprises that share this vision and strive for high level achievement in satisfying customer needs

* Develop and grow high-yielding products and markets through development of innovative business strategies and high-yield niche markets

* Embrace innovation and ongoing improvement and adopts appropriate technology

* Attract appropriate investment to support growth and development of a Platinum Plus destination

* Support a highly skilled workforce motivated to provide tourists with the highest levels of quality and professional service, and

* Is an integral part of our social and economic fabric, indicated by a widespread community desire to welcome visitors and share the Australian experience.

To achieve this vision, the Australian tourism industry must have its focus firmly on the changing patterns and trends in consumer demand. Australian businesses need to be world leaders in developing and marketing innovative tourism product. They must be skilled at innovative business practices and be ready to adopt and use modern technologies and flexible work practices.

$235 million package was put in place to help assist this; the package is broken into 3 different areas which include $120.6 million pumped into international marketing to help attract high yielding international tourists into Australia. Brand Australia has been developed to promote Australia as a business and also an events destination. Tourism Australia is also working with the tourism industry to identify and grow niche markets.

$45.5 million has gone into domestic tourism which is trying to be developed even more even though it is currently a very strong tourism destination. Australia works closely with the local authorities to encourage citizens to holiday at home throughout Australia itself.

$68.9 million has been put into structural initiatives which is broken into 5 sections which are:

* Enhanced research and statistics capacity ($21.5m) – To improve tourism research and statistics, improve tourism-related data collections, including the Australian Tourism Satellite Account and the Survey of Tourism Accommodation.

* Australia tourism development program ($24m*) – a grants program which is to encourage the development of tourism across Australia, particularly in regional areas. * This is including Regional Tourism Program Funding

* Business ready program for indigenous tourism ($3.8m) – helps individual or new businesses to develop a viable indigenous tourism product or business.

* Tourism and Conservation ($4.6m) – Funds businesses or organisations to boost nature-based tourism and to stimulate regional communities.

* Accreditation ($2m) – Has been allocated to Tourism Accreditation Australia Ltd for the establishment of a national, voluntary, self-sustaining tourism accreditation system. It is responsible for the implementation and management of the tourism accreditation system.

Tourism Impact Model

Australian government carried out an extensive consultation with local councils as part of the tourism white paper development; it became apparent that a tool was needed to measure the impacts of tourism on certain areas. This is where the Tourism Impact Model came in to play. The Tourism Impact Model was developed by the Department in conjunction with Syneca Consulting. It was developed in consultation with a number of local government associations and state/territory tourism organisations, researches, the Australian local government association and approximately 80 other councils. Feedback from all these groups has been very successful. The council plays a vital role in the tourism industry in Australia.

They provide many of the visible services the tourism industry needs, and they adopt a coordinating role in shaping the image and direction of their region. The Model was released to the councils in March 2004; the model will assist councils to measure the costs and benefits of tourism on their budgets. The Model takes advantage of the nationally consistent data collected as part of the international and national visitor surveys, which then the local governments apply their own expertise and data to the model.

How the Tourism Impact Model Works

The Tourism Impact Model allows the governments to ask the following question:

“What would happen to the operating expenses and operating incomes of local governments in the absence of the existing tourism industry?”

This is achieved by:

* Calculating employment and population multipliers

* Establish the councils area’s share of visitor spending

* Model the tourist-related impacts and

* Model the generic growth-related impacts

The data which is obtained from the Model can be used by the councils to:

* Identify tourist expenditure in their area, and model the impact of additional income on their budget

* Isolate the likely costs and benefits of a potential tourism development in the area

* Understand the value of different visitor types to the area and

* Also to determine where tourism activity and in turn costs, occur in the area, and work out how to minimise these costs and how to maximise the revenue.

This Model so far has been very successful; it has helped with Australia’s tourism by a great amount. The Model is so good targets which have been set for 2004-2005 which are:

* To attend appropriate local government and tourism conferences to promote the Model

* Provide new visitor data to all councils in November 2004 and

* Support councils in their implementation of the Model.

If the Model was not successful they wouldn’t have thought about how to promote the Model to the councils and to help the tourism in Australia so much. The Model has helped Australia since 2004 to minimise costs and the revenue has gone up since the introduction to this model.

Tourism Action Agenda

The tourism action agenda was announced as part of 1997’s ‘Investing for Growth’ statement and the implementation of the national action plan for tourism began in June 1998 and was finally completed in 2001. The vision of the action agenda was

“To add value to all Australian business by enabling competitive environmental outcomes, and in the process build an environment industry with annual sales exceeding $40 billion by 2011.”

The plan sought to enhance the international competitiveness of the tourism industry growth and capitalising on opportunities for sustainable industry development.

The key objectives to this plan were to:

* Optimise tourism employment and investment growth

* Develop the potential of new and emerging markets

* Maximise tourism opportunities from the major events such as Olympics 2000

* Remove unnecessary regulatory and other impediments to industry growth

* Encourage the development of efficient transportation

* Foster regional tourism development

* Enhance industry standards and skill levels

* Improve he industry’s information base

* Encourage the conservation and presentation of Australia’s unique natural and cultural heritage

* Encourage diversification of the industry’s product base and

* Reinforce Australia’s image as a safe and friendly destination.

Strategies to achieve these initiatives have been implemented and significantly progressed since the introduction of the plan. The federal government takes the whole approach to meeting these objectives as it recognises the importance of integrating tourism policy into the other public policy areas to optimise benefits of tourism to the country.

The goals of the strategy in addressing these terms are:

* To grow regional economies through improved profitability and diversification of tourism businesses;

* To expand Australia’s tourism export markets;

* To improve Australians’ knowledge of Australia by encouraging domestic travel;

* To raise standards of tourism products and businesses;

* To grow the profitability and size of the tourism sector in a sustainable way;

* To provide better tourism information, research and forecasts to industry and government;

* To develop the tourism sector’s capacity to respond quickly to a changing operating environment;

* To lower the tourism sector’s risk profile;

* To facilitate the environmental and social sustainability of the tourism sector; and

* To improve planning and coordination of national tourism development.

There have also been key achievements for the Tourism Action Agenda which are:

* The Australian Tourist Commission has received funding for $50 million over four years for overseas tourism promotion and marketing to capitalise on the tourism potential for the 2000 Olympics.

* A doubling of funding for the regional Tourism Program to $16 million over four years to encourage regional tourism development, with $2 million allocated for the development of regional tourism websites.

* An additional $8 million towards a domestic tourism program, dependant on matching funding form the Sates/Territories and the industry.

* On-line tourism forum established and national scoping study being undertaken to identify deficiencies in Australia’s tourism distribution system.

* Launch of $5 million ATC campaign “Meet in Australia in 2001”

* Australia granted approved destination status from China

* New National Visitors Survey implemented and

* Tourism Satellite Account being developed to provide better information on economic significance of tourism.

Since the Tourism Action Agenda has been introduced the plan has helped to achieve a healthier and happier Australia. Most of the listed goals and key objectives/achievements have either been met by Australia or near to being done.

According to the OECD Economic survey of Australia 2003, as Australia has had one of the strongest economies of the world in recent years there is an effective government sector, a flexible labour market and a very competitive business market sector. The Australian federal government addresses policies that are designed to deliver a vibrant tourism industry that’s makes a strong contribution to the economy.

The broad mission statement of Australia’s federal government in relation to tourism policy is to:

“Contribute to Australia economic and social well being through

The development of policies that achieve an internationally

Competitive tourism sector focused on sustainable growth”

This quote was taken from and it highlights that the Australian federal government cares for sustainable tourism, and wants to do something to help this matter.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Threats (SWOT)

There are many Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within Australia. The table below will list some of the ones I have thought about and below the table will have a little summary on each one of them.


� Natural beauty

� Strong Dollar currency

� 10 year plan

� Sustainability


� Data level from local authorities

� Recent poor inbound tourism figures

� Weather


� White paper initiatives

� Strengthening relationships

� International marketing

� Potential average 6.2% growth per year for inbound visitors for the next 10 years


� Climate change

� Terrorist attacks

� SARS or other disease outbreaks


Natural Beauty – As there is so much Natural Beauty in Australia many people go there for this reason.

Strong Dollar currency – The exchange rate for changing into dollars has been very good for the past few years so things in Australia will be cheaper and people going on holiday will get more money from British Pounds (�).

10 Year Plan – Since the introduction of this plan it has further improved Australia as a destination and more and more people are going to visit.

Sustainability – Ongoing sustainable tourism is making Australia a more friendly country to visit.


Data level from local authorities – The lack of information being given by the local authorities make it hard for Australia to know what needs to be done/improved to keep local people happy.

Recent poor inbound tourism figures – Australia are recently lacking inbound tourists figures and need to turn this around.

Weather – The weather may always seem to be nice in Australia, but weather is still always unpredictable and sometimes this makes the visitors think again before going to any destination.


White paper initiatives – As stated above there are many good points about the Tourism White paper initiative and with this Australia will become an even better tourist destination.

Strengthening relationships – If Australia further strengthen their relationships with people inside Australia and surrounding countries like, China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, United Kingdom and other European countries including Germany, France, and Italy, and also North America this can help Australia to gain many new things and to help strengthen the country as a whole.

International marketing – Marketing Australia internationally, would be a very good opportunity for the people who haven’t seen or been to Australia before. If the correct marketing is used then many new visitors would be attracted.

Potential average 6.2% growth per year for inbound visitors for the next 10 years – As the tourism forecasting council said they expect over 10.4 million visitors per year to be visiting by 2012. This shows there is lot of confidence that Australia will be a popular destination to be visited within the next few years.


Climate change – Again this is like the weather, the climate is able to change any time it likes without having to consult anyone, so people have to think twice before going to that specific destination

Terrorist attacks – Like every country in this world there are always terrorist attacks everywhere and no one can stop this. For example New York 9/11, no one would have ever thought that could have happened but it did and due to the reason many people are afraid to go holidaying to a new destination they haven’t been before.

SARS or other disease outbreaks – There are many new found diseases these days and people are afraid to go anywhere near any countries that have been infected or any news has been heard going around as people do not want to go there and catch anything.

There are many other Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in Australia, the ones I have highlighted are the most obvious ones. Australia will continue to have these four components like every other country. It’s just the matter of whether Australia is able to minimise the Weaknesses and Threats and promote the Strengths and Opportunities to help Australia become a better country.

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Sustainable tourism within Australia has been very successful since introducing all their action plans i.e. 10 year plan and Action Agenda plan. Australia in the coming years will become a friendlier destination where people will automatically want to visit. The Australian Government will continue to strengthen their relationship with the councils, government and the tourism industry by:

* The Industry Implementation Advisory Group (IIAG),

* An annual Australian Government Ministerial Council on tourism,

* Hosting an annual consultative forum between Government and the Industry,

* A new intergovernmental arrangement between the Australian Government, states and territories,

* The Tourism Ministers’ Council and Australian standing council on tourism and

* Publishing regular newsletters and annual progress reports on the Tourism White Paper.

With all the pointers above Australia will definitely be able to keep up their relationships with everyone, making it a place all people will enjoy and go to.

If Australia is able to maintain and reinforce their Strengths and Opportunities and minimise the Threats and Weaknesses they will certainly become a better country for people to think about going to visit. There are already many great possessions that Australia holds as a country which attracts many visitors, along with all their beautiful sites and surroundings which along the way helps to make people visit.

Since the Sydney Olympics 2000, this has immensely helped Australia as many people went to visit the country due to the event and also helped the people within Australia to travel to Sydney to see this. This is what Tourism Australia wanted in their Tourism Australia Act 2004, for “Australians to travel throughout Australia, including for events” the Olympics was a great help to this as it happens every 4 years and for any country to be chosen to hold this event is incredible.

The Commonwealth games 2006 is now being held in Australia, this will again help to promote the country, as many people will now have a chance to go there and experience the country if they missed the Sydney Olympics. People who have been there before may also want to visit the country again, due to the beauty which is offered and also to go and watch the Games being held there for the 12 days. Other events like these which are to take place within Australia would help the country significantly.

Finally I’d like to add if Australia is able to maintain and often renew their key objectives, key achievements and goals within all their plans they have introduced, Australia will only be able to become stronger and more of a visited country.

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Sustainable Tourism in Australia. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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