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    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Have your say on Queensland’s draft Ecotourism plan

    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Have your say on Queensland’s draft Ecotourism plan

    The Newman Government is set to make Queensland the number one nature-based tourism destination in Australia, with its draft Ecotourism Plan released for public input today.

    National Parks Minister Steve Dickson, along with Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey unveiled the draft plan which is a direct outcome of the inaugural DestinationQ workshop held in Cairns last year.

    “DestinationQ brought together government and tourism industry representatives to find a way forward for Queensland tourism, along with opportunities for us to become world leaders in ecotourism,” Mr Dickson said.

    “This draft plan recognises Queensland’s greatest competitive advantage is our unique natural environment. 

    “Our vision is to make Queensland a world leader in ecotourism by 2020, as the Newman Government continues to grow our four pillar economy and get Queensland back on track.

    “The future of ecotourism in Queensland will be guided by ecologically responsible and sustainable practices.

    “We are blessed with more than 1,300 national parks, marine parks and other reserves conserving a diverse array of species and ecosystems, our rich Indigenous cultural heritage and five World Heritage listed areas — more than any other state or territory.

    “National parks and protected areas have a big role to play in ecotourism and the LNP is committed to improving the environmental integrity of these unique areas while enriching the visitor experience.”

    Ms Stuckey said a new Ecotourism Plan for Queensland was long overdue.

    “Queensland was a pioneer for ecotourism and experienced great success through the nineties and early 2000’s but that growth has stalled in recent years,” Ms Stuckey said.

    “The landmark DestinationQ forum, hosted by my department, was the catalyst to re-empower the tourism industry and in particular ecotourism, as part of our plan to increase annual overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020.

    “Queensland is blessed with an abundance of natural attributes and this draft Plan will guide the future direction of our ecotourism industry.

    “Initiatives include supporting operators to develop products, facilitating new investment, improving tourism skills and an overall reduction in red tape.”

    Daniel Gschwind, CEO of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) said the organisation had long recognised the State’s unique natural environment as critical to making Queensland the number one destination of choice for both domestic and international visitors.

    “The draft Queensland Ecotourism Plan signals a new direction for this important tourism market of Queensland,” Mr Gschwind said. 

    “It addresses a number of critical issues that have long been of concern to industry including providing commercially viable investment arrangements and a strong focus on best practice operations to deliver quality ecotourism experiences for visitors.”

    Danielle Duell, CEO of Spicers Group, which currently operates six tourism businesses in Queensland said the release of the draft Plan was a great step forward for Queensland ecotourism.

    “Spicers Group is committed to demonstrating positive environmental practices on our own land with the establishment of our three nature refuges and koala habitat,” Ms Duell said.

    “Spicers has long proven that establishing ecotourism ventures can be sensitive to the environment and we believe by visiting these unique places people gain a renewed appreciation of natural places.”

    The draft Plan is open for viewing and comment until Friday 31 May 2013 at www.nprsr.qld.gov.au

    Comments and any enquiries can be emailed to ecotourismplan@nprsr.qld.gov.au.

    [ENDS] 17 April 2013

    Media contact: Anna Hilton 0408 191 192