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Cr. Ann Bunnell Deputy Mayor Townsville City Council 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA 2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA.

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Presentation on theme: "Cr. Ann Bunnell Deputy Mayor Townsville City Council 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA 2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cr. Ann Bunnell Deputy Mayor Townsville City Council 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA 2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2 November 2006 ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA 2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Townsville: Why the Ecotourism Sustainability Model?

2 Why Ecotourism and Townsville? Why is ecotourism important? Highlight what can be role of Local Government? A guided tour of Townsville ’ s initiatives in Ecotourism Networks and activities – infrastructure, activities (youth) Linkages – Thailand, Mexico, and Townsville » What I will cover today

3 » Welcome to Townsville » Queensland ’ s largest regional City - industrial, administrative, cultural & environmental (sustainability) » Region is home to over 158,500 people » Area of 4000 km 2 (including City of Thuringowa)

4 » A Distinctive Queensland Experience Townsville : » where Tropical Savannas meet the coast » southern gateway to the Wet Tropics » abuts the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

5 Our area has: » coastal mountains » wetlands » mangroves, » seagrass gardens, » fringing coral reefs » islands.

6 » Growing interest by visitors in sustainable tourism » Interest in eco-experiences and associated business opportunities is growing » Ecotourism – as a business model can demonstrate sustainability (social, economic, & environment) – » As such it can be a fundamental opportunity, and » Offers another dimension for local government » Rising demand for innovative local governance and community-based partnerships (CVA, Reefcheck) » Why in Townsville?

7 » Fostered partnerships » Mapping and promotion of natural assets » Local innovations involving community » Development of networks and regional cooperation » What have we done

8 » Planning; » Provision of Infrastructure (walking tracks & interp) » Mapping of assets (natural, cultural, built) » Providing opportunities for community education & involvement » Addressing environmental concerns; and » Provision of information to the community » Role of local government in Supporting and developing ecotourism opportunities

9 » Rising demand and challenge to address the fundamental issues of triple bottom line sustainability » Appropriately developed ecotourism offers and integrated response at all levels of community and education, environment, and economy » Intrinsic nature of ecotourism model is involved in conserving environments, protecting communities and culture, whilst delivering a profit » Why is Ecotourism Important?

10 » ECONOMY » COMMUNITY & EDUCATION » ENVIRONMENT And what is important is the integration between them » In summary --- Ecotourism delivers:

11 » ECONOMY » Develop business opportunities and employment » Contributes to both the local and regional economy » Top opportunity for growth with rising demand for eco- experiences

12 » COMMUNITY & EDUCATION » Educates locals and visitors on environmental issues » Develops community capacity building » Fosters partnerships and opportunities » Values community and culture

13 » ENVIRONMENT » Discloses local natural and cultural assets » Provides understanding and connection to nature » Helps minimize impact on the environment

14 In a nutshell » Ecotourism involves: » meaningful community participation & cultural protection » business development and local economy » environmental protection and conservation

15 » Townsville ’ s Vision for Ecotourism “ To ensure an ecologically sustainable and economically viable ecotourism industry in the Townsville region ”. “ Where the rich natural diversity, cultural heritage, and unique lifestyle are so valued by the entire community …

16 » Townsville ’ s Vision for Ecotourism … that they are proactive in its management and conservation for future generations. Ecotourism represents the pre-eminent form of tourism in the region and engage, educates and delights our visitors ”.

17 » Community-based approach (1998 – workshops and Strategy 2000) » Develops and promotes opportunities for business and fosters cooperation across the North Queensland region » Notion of the “Townsville Experience” or “Trang Experience” (Thailand) Linking with Kenya – plants, gondwana, people, experiences (or Sao Paulo or Cape Town) »Townsville ’ s Ecotourism Strategy

18 » Local Government as a facilitator of Ecotourism opportunities » Relevant Townsville municipality and community response » Two community workshops sessions held in 1998

19 » Townsville ’ s Ecotourism Strategy - implementation » This strategy has included development of the Council ’ s innovative and dynamic web-based Townsville Regional Natural Assets Database 2004, and State of Environment Report 2003

20 » Partnerships with regional stakeholders business opportunities, networks and visions for the future of ecotourism in Townsville & region » Interpretative eco-landscapes on the ground and across the city » Upgrades of infrastructure, facilities and walking tracks » Townsville ’ s Ecotourism Strategy - implementation

21 » Emergence of eco-catchment tours for promoting environmental awareness, ownership and integration » Increase in number of local & regional nature-based or ecotourism operators from 2 to 9 » Development of regional ecotourism initiatives Bird Watching Cluster and Great Tropical Way marketing and branding - Townsville as an environmental destination & sustainable city

22 Redeveloped Strand Foreshore as an icon of “ Townsville Experience ” » Great facilities – peoples place » Environmental art and interpretation » Awareness raising on natural environments (turtles & dugong) » Scenic views to the World Heritage “ waters ” of Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island.

23 » Ecotourism – Economy, Environment and Future » Environmental Education and Experience, and » Regional and Local Partnerships and Opportunities » Townsville ’ s Ecotourism Strategy – themes

24 » Ecotourism – Economy, Environment and Future » Townsville has competitive advantage for ecotourism – including pristine beauty, unique experience, culture & friendly people » In 2003 International “ ecotourists ” were recorded as being almost double the number of non-ecotourists, and stayed twice as long

25 » Environmental Education and Experience » Eco-attractions such as are key aspects seen as sustainable and attractive place to visit. » They educate locals and visitors on environmental issues. » provide opportunities for people to become involved as volunteers or start their own ecotourism business.

26 Key projects and outcomes include: » Ecotours to various Local Government areas in conjunction with Townsville Enterprise » Networking and sharing information on local eco-tourism initiatives; » Mapping of ecotourism attractions and potential sites and maps; » Producing web pages of ecotourism » 2006 – Urban Nature: Youth Ecotourism Forum, Student Art Jigsaw, and international video conference call » Townsville Ecotourism Networks

27 Future initiatives include; » Exploring Green Globe certification » Encouraging & supporting local businesses to obtain Ecotourism Accreditation » Working with International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), ITMEMS, and Reef Check » Possible collaborations with Savannah Guides? We supported their school in Townsville » Centre of Excellence in Tropical Design (Sustainability & Innovation) » Townsville Ecotourism Networks

28 Ecotourism strategy ties in with the development of Townsville ’ s: » Healthy City Plan » Sustainable Townsville Program » Reef Guardians Councils (GBRMPA)

29 » Environmental Protection, Facilities and Interpretive Learnscapes » Castle Hill- Reserve managed for environmental protection » Town Common - tropical savanna covered hills and peaks, lowland woodlands, estuarine habitats and freshwater-marine wetlands (managed by QPWS).

30 » Environmental Protection, Facilities and Interpretive Learnscapes » Magnetic Island – Situated within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, “ Maggie ” hosts: » Nelly Bay Habitat Interpretive Centre – an award- winning facility used extensively by local tour guides. » Landscape Ecology, Flora & Fauna, and Heritage signage & interpretive stations across the island – giving a “ sense of place ”

31 » Environmental Protection, Facilities and Interpretive Learnscapes » Further Coastal Learnscapes planned for Rowes Bay, promoting marine habitats of mudflats and sponge gardens (JCU and Belgium Gardens School students)

32 » Townsville Ecotourism Operators and Opportunities Townsville historically has a growing number of eco-tour operators » Billabong Sanctuary - wildlife park » Reef HQ education centre for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area » Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks - winners of 12 local and state tourism awards » Magnetic Island Reef Eco Tours - operated by local marine biologist » Ironbark Tours & Pop Sullivan – wetland tours



35 » Summary » Ecotourism offers exciting possibilities for the future » Townsville a great ecotourism environment » The ecotourism business, environmental, social-cultural model can be effectively used as a surrogate for discussions on wider- sustainability in communities and urban environments » Townsville is a the forefront of ecotourism development and promotion with its own ecotourism vision and strategy » Responsibility to showcase two of the world ’ s great environmental icons (Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas) Cont ’ d

36 » Summary » Ecotourism business is developing fast in the Townsville region thanks to partnership opportunities, networks and regional cooperation » The Ecotourism Australia International Conference has been an excellent opportunity to forge new and exciting partnerships and we thankyou for your time and participation » Townsville is fully involved in integrating its community with a sustainable future and ecotourism is a natural …

37 THANK YOU web link Photographs: TCC, Dr A.Lewis, GBRMPA, D.Silke, Townsville Tropical Tours, Billabong Sanctuary, and MI Sea Kayaks

38 “ Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation." (def: Ecotourism Australia).

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