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“Australian Geotourism – Pathways for Future Development Revealed” at GGN 2016

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The serious pursuit of ecotourism in Australia emerged nearly 25 years ago through the establishment of an industry grouping, Ecotourism Australia. Whilst the potential for geotourism was first recognised in Australia in 1996, the concept was only conceptualised locally by the convening in Western Australia of a Global Geotourism Conference in 2008, with the subsequent establishment of geotourism constituencies, firstly by the Geological Society of Australia in 2011, and then by Ecotourism Australia through the creation of a Geotourism Forum in November 2013.
As well as noting the rapid emergence and growth of geoparks overseas, in Australia however, the concept of ‘geotrails’ is thought to offer, as a first step, a universally acceptable mechanism for delivering deliver geotourism experiences through a journey linked by an area's geology and landscape ‘as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. Geotrails can offer the advantages of relating directly to the tourism experience of a journey linking destinations and should incorporate and package in the biodiversity and cultural components (including mining heritage) of the region through which the geotrail traverses.
For geotourism to reach its potential nationally, new pathways for development such as geotrails need to be implemented, having regard to government interest in nurturing regional development and new job creation through celebrating geotourism, geological and mining heritage. Various iconic national landscapes and the development of a range of existing and proposed geotrail projects also offer exciting new opportunities for geotourism growth, whilst not overlooking Australia’s extensive protected areas as venues for enhancing geological and landscape interpretation and education as part of the overall ‘nature-based’ tourism mix.
Recently, several exciting geopark/geotrail proposals (offering UNESCO Global Geopark potential) have now emerged within two Australian regions under the auspices of supporting government agencies. These proposals are addressed in the presentation.

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“Australian Geotourism – Pathways for Future Development Revealed” at GGN 2016

  1. 1. ““Australian Geotourism – Pathways for FutureAustralian Geotourism – Pathways for Future Development Revealed”Development Revealed” at GGN 2016at GGN 2016 Angus M RobinsonAngus M Robinson Chair, Geotourism Standing CommitteeChair, Geotourism Standing Committee Geological Society of AustraliaGeological Society of Australia
  2. 2. Today’s AgendaToday’s Agenda  Historic Challenges Facing Geopark Development inHistoric Challenges Facing Geopark Development in Australia – including the Kanawinka ExperienceAustralia – including the Kanawinka Experience  Progress of Geotourism Development, 2012 to 2016Progress of Geotourism Development, 2012 to 2016  Australia- China CollaborationAustralia- China Collaboration  Australian National LandscapesAustralian National Landscapes  Australian Geotrail DevelopmentAustralian Geotrail Development  Aspiring Geopark Development in AustraliaAspiring Geopark Development in Australia  Take AwaysTake Aways
  3. 3. The Geopark ‘Problem’ in Australia – 2008The Geopark ‘Problem’ in Australia – 2008 1.1. ConceptConcept not supported bynot supported by government planning andgovernment planning and tourism agencies; the concepttourism agencies; the concept did not fit well intodid not fit well into the prevailing public land managementthe prevailing public land management arrangements,arrangements, underpinned by a two tier federation.underpinned by a two tier federation. 2.2. ConceptConcept not embraced or understood by thenot embraced or understood by the geological professiongeological profession – no constituency support.– no constituency support. 3.3. Government Geological Surveys were not supportiveGovernment Geological Surveys were not supportive of geopark developmentof geopark development and geotourism generally,and geotourism generally, with concern aboutwith concern about impact on access to lands forimpact on access to lands for exploration and miningexploration and mining..
  4. 4. Melbourne Adelaide Kanawinka Global Geopark (27,000 sq km) established in 2008, designation withdrawn in 2012 Sydney The Kanawinka Geopark - Rejected by Australian Government Agencies asThe Kanawinka Geopark - Rejected by Australian Government Agencies as formal approvals not obtained prior to the nomination process.formal approvals not obtained prior to the nomination process.
  5. 5. KANAWINKA ‘GEOPARK’ Tertiary Volcanics LandscapesTertiary Volcanics Landscapes
  6. 6. Addressing The Geopark ‘Impasse’ in AustraliaAddressing The Geopark ‘Impasse’ in Australia 2011 to Present2011 to Present 1.1. Establishment by the GSA of theEstablishment by the GSA of the GeotourismGeotourism Standing CommitteeStanding Committee,, defining geotourism.defining geotourism. 2.2. WeWe gained the support of other key geosciencegained the support of other key geoscience professional associationsprofessional associations andand consulted widely withconsulted widely with state government geological surveysstate government geological surveys.. 3. We commencedWe commenced dialogue with various keydialogue with various key government agencies.government agencies. 4.4. WeWe organised geotourism workshopsorganised geotourism workshops at variousat various regional development and ecotourism conferences.regional development and ecotourism conferences. 5.5. WeWe championed Australian National Landscapeschampioned Australian National Landscapes..
  7. 7. Geotourism Definition adopted byGeotourism Definition adopted by the Geological Society of Australiathe Geological Society of Australia Recognising thatRecognising that interpretation outcomes in Australian nationalinterpretation outcomes in Australian national parks had largely ignored geoheritage elementsparks had largely ignored geoheritage elements of nationalof national heritage, the GSA set about addressing this deficiency with theheritage, the GSA set about addressing this deficiency with the following definition.following definition. ‘Geotourism is tourism which focuses on an area'sGeotourism is tourism which focuses on an area's geology and landscapegeology and landscape as the basis for providing visitoras the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’.engagement, learning and enjoyment’.
  8. 8. Australia-China Memorandum of CooperationAustralia-China Memorandum of Cooperation The GSA and the Geological Society of ChinaThe GSA and the Geological Society of China Executed June 2016Executed June 2016  The Australia-China relationship is becoming moreThe Australia-China relationship is becoming more importantimportant with the increasing level of economic,with the increasing level of economic, social and cultural activities in the coming decades.social and cultural activities in the coming decades.  The Memorandum of Cooperation will be focusedThe Memorandum of Cooperation will be focused onon growing and enhancing best practice nature-growing and enhancing best practice nature- based tourism (i.e. geotourism)based tourism (i.e. geotourism) in both countries.in both countries.  Tourism park managers could play a significant roleTourism park managers could play a significant role inin establishing ‘sister’ relationships between parks,establishing ‘sister’ relationships between parks, as a key driver of future geotourism.as a key driver of future geotourism.
  9. 9. Australia’s National Landscapes ProgrammeAustralia’s National Landscapes Programme Partnership between tourism and conservation that aims to:Partnership between tourism and conservation that aims to:  PromotePromote world class, high qualityworld class, high quality visitor experiencesvisitor experiences  Increase theIncrease the value of tourism to regional economiesvalue of tourism to regional economies  Enhance theEnhance the role of protected areasrole of protected areas in those economiesin those economies  Build support for protecting our natural and cultural assetsBuild support for protecting our natural and cultural assets  EngageEngage local communitieslocal communities A long termA long term strategicstrategic approachapproach ‘‘To differentiateTo differentiate Australia’sAustralia’s iconic natural and culturaliconic natural and cultural destinationsdestinations from anything elsefrom anything else available in the worldavailable in the world’
  10. 10. Australia’s 16 National LandscapesAustralia’s 16 National Landscapes
  11. 11. Environment, Natural & Cultural HeritageEnvironment, Natural & Cultural Heritage comprises the following:comprises the following: 1.1. AAbioticbiotic – non-living aspects such as the climate & geology– non-living aspects such as the climate & geology e.g. landscape and landforms:e.g. landscape and landforms: GEODIVERSITYGEODIVERSITY 2.2. BBioticiotic – the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and flora– the living parts eg. fauna (animals) and flora (plants):(plants): BIODIVERSITYBIODIVERSITY 3.3. CCulturalultural – past & present, non-living & built– past & present, non-living & built PartsParts B+CB+C are well interpreted within tourism, especially throughare well interpreted within tourism, especially through ecotourism and cultural tourism,ecotourism and cultural tourism, butbut AA has typically not been wellhas typically not been well addressed in Australia.addressed in Australia. Source: Dowling, 2013
  12. 12. Alice Springs Uluru Australia’s Red CentreAustralia’s Red Centre National LandscapeNational Landscape Northern TerrorityNorthern Terrority ‘‘features an ancient landscape with erosionalfeatures an ancient landscape with erosional remnants (geosites) linked to a commonremnants (geosites) linked to a common geological heritage’geological heritage’
  13. 13. Island of Tasmania Australia’s Red Centre National LandscapeAustralia’s Red Centre National Landscape
  14. 14. Iconic Geotourism Themes ofIconic Geotourism Themes of Australia’s Red Centre National LandscapeAustralia’s Red Centre National Landscape  AA: Landforms and common geological heritage: Landforms and common geological heritage  BB: Red Kangaroo species, and other type: Red Kangaroo species, and other type flora/faunaflora/fauna  CC: Indigenous (and European) culture: Indigenous (and European) culture
  15. 15. Why Geotrails?Why Geotrails? 1.1. Relates directly to the tourism experience of aRelates directly to the tourism experience of a journey linking destinationsjourney linking destinations.. 2.2. In Australia, unlike geoparks,In Australia, unlike geoparks, geotrails havegeotrails have widespread appealwidespread appeal, and do not compete with or, and do not compete with or impact on land management/access issues.impact on land management/access issues. 3.3. Geotrails are relatively easy to establish andGeotrails are relatively easy to establish and represent arepresent a very cost effective means of enhancingvery cost effective means of enhancing regional developmentregional development..
  16. 16. Best Practice GeotrailsBest Practice Geotrails 1.1. Should be constructed aroundShould be constructed around routes currently usedroutes currently used by touristsby tourists; geotrails should form logical journeys; geotrails should form logical journeys linking accommodation destinations.linking accommodation destinations. 2.2. ShouldShould meld the geological heritage features of ameld the geological heritage features of a region with a cohesive STORY.region with a cohesive STORY. 3.3. ShouldShould incorporate and package in the biodiversityincorporate and package in the biodiversity and cultural components (including mining heritage)and cultural components (including mining heritage) of the region through which the geotrail traverses.of the region through which the geotrail traverses.
  17. 17. Great Ocean Road National LandscapeGreat Ocean Road National Landscape State of VictoriaState of Victoria Great Ocean Road and Kanawinka Geotrail ?
  18. 18. Key FactorsKey Factors Geopark Development In Australia - 2016Geopark Development In Australia - 2016  Geopark development needs to beGeopark development needs to be state/local governmentstate/local government agencyagency initiatedinitiated and supportedand supported..  AA high level of community engagementhigh level of community engagement is essential to meetis essential to meet UNESCO requirements.UNESCO requirements.  The key driver of geopark development must be focused on regional developmentregional development – i.e. jobs and growth.– i.e. jobs and growth.  TheThe approval of Government Geological Surveysapproval of Government Geological Surveys for individualfor individual projects is an absolute necessity.projects is an absolute necessity.  Australian Government approval for UNESCO nomination mayAustralian Government approval for UNESCO nomination may well be achieved ifwell be achieved if state/territory governmentstate/territory government ‘ownership’endorsement and funding is clearly established‘ownership’endorsement and funding is clearly established..
  19. 19. A partnership between the NationalA partnership between the National and State Governmentsand State Governments
  20. 20. Pre-AspiringPre-Aspiring Warrumbungles UNESCO Global GeoparkWarrumbungles UNESCO Global Geopark New South WalesNew South Wales CurrentlyCurrently comprising the Shirescomprising the Shires of Warrambungle, Gilgandraof Warrambungle, Gilgandra and Coonamble, 27,000 sq kmand Coonamble, 27,000 sq km in areain area
  21. 21. Pre -AspiringPre -Aspiring WarrumbunglesWarrumbungles UNESCO Global GeoparkUNESCO Global Geopark New South WalesNew South Wales Outstanding MioceneOutstanding Miocene Shield Volcano remnantShield Volcano remnant landforms close to alandforms close to a major coal developmentmajor coal development area located in thearea located in the Warrumbungles NationalWarrumbungles National ParkPark (236 square km area)(236 square km area) at theat the intersection of theintersection of the three local governmentthree local government areas.areas.
  22. 22. The Proposed Savannah Way Geotrail linked to the Pre-Aspiring Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark in the state of Queensland
  23. 23. Pre-AspiringPre-Aspiring Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark,Etheridge UNESCO Global Geopark, QueenslandQueensland Comprising theComprising the entire Shire ofentire Shire of EtheridgeEtheridge, and including areas of, and including areas of outstanding volcanic and miningoutstanding volcanic and mining Heritage - embracing someHeritage - embracing some 40,000 sq km.40,000 sq km.
  24. 24. Other Australian Geotourism InitiativesOther Australian Geotourism Initiatives  State of New South Wales:State of New South Wales: GeoTreat supported ‘GeoJourney’ in theGeoTreat supported ‘GeoJourney’ in the Australian Coastal Wilderness National Landscape.Australian Coastal Wilderness National Landscape.  State of Victoria:State of Victoria: Volcano Discovery Trail (Kanawinka related).Volcano Discovery Trail (Kanawinka related).  State of Western Australia:State of Western Australia: Various geotrail project proposals (e.g.Various geotrail project proposals (e.g. Murchison, Coolgardie) and potential ‘geopark concept’ opportunities.Murchison, Coolgardie) and potential ‘geopark concept’ opportunities.  State of South Australia:State of South Australia: is not actively progressing any geopark potentialis not actively progressing any geopark potential projects, but is very keen toprojects, but is very keen to support the development of geotrails andsupport the development of geotrails and geotourismgeotourism through exceptional geological heritage, especially throughthrough exceptional geological heritage, especially through Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges National Landscapes.Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges National Landscapes.  State of Tasmania:State of Tasmania: West Coast ‘Living Earth’ – CradleCoast GeoTrail.West Coast ‘Living Earth’ – CradleCoast GeoTrail.  Northern Territory:Northern Territory: Potential Geotrails (Red Centre, Savannah Way).Potential Geotrails (Red Centre, Savannah Way).
  25. 25. Take-AwaysTake-Aways  Regional development imperativesRegional development imperatives (growth and jobs)(growth and jobs) are now driving geotourism initiatives in Australia.are now driving geotourism initiatives in Australia.  Creating geotrailsCreating geotrails is arguably the easiest way ofis arguably the easiest way of providingproviding early pathwaysearly pathways and support fromand support from governmentsgovernments for geotourism activitiesfor geotourism activities in Australia.in Australia.  Successful roll-out ofSuccessful roll-out of geotrails will instill confidencegeotrails will instill confidence in geotourism,in geotourism, providing aproviding a future pathwayfuture pathway toto geopark establishmentgeopark establishment and development inand development in Australia.Australia.  State/Local GovernmentState/Local Government andand community backedcommunity backed geopark/geotrail initiativesgeopark/geotrail initiatives are now emerging.are now emerging.
  26. 26. Contact DetailsContact Details angus@leisuresolutions.com.auangus@leisuresolutions.com.au Tel: + 61 418 488 340Tel: + 61 418 488 340 http://www.leisuresolutions.com.au/index.php/geotourism-industry-groupshttp://www.leisuresolutions.com.au/index.php/geotourism-industry-groups// http://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2016/04/australia-s-big-red-centrehttp://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2016/04/australia-s-big-red-centre

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