About ecotourism on parks

Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Queensland’s parks and forests underpin the state’s thriving nature-based tourism industry. They attract millions of international and domestic visitors per year and contribute billions of dollars to the Queensland economy.

A report by The University of Queensland outlines the significant economic value that national parks provide to the Queensland economy through tourism and recreational use. The university research showed that in 2018, expenditure generated by visitors to Queensland’s national parks was estimated at up to $2.64 billion, which contributed $1.98 billion to Gross State Product and helped support 17,241 jobs in total.

More than 400 licensed tourism operators provide opportunities, through their products and services, for visitors to experience the outstanding natural and cultural heritage values of Queensland parks and forests. Queensland’s protected areas also support many popular ecotourism facilities and a wide variety of businesses that rely on nature based tourism.

With outstanding natural attractions like K’gari (Fraser Island), the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is already a world-class tourism destination. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) aims to ensure park tourism is best-practice, meets contemporary consumer demands and continues to be ecologically sustainable.

Queensland is an internationally celebrated ecotourism destination, delivering world-class interpretation and experiences that support the conservation of our special natural places and unique Indigenous and cultural heritage.

The Nature Conservation Act 1992 provides for development of low-impact, purpose-built ecotourism infrastructure on national parks that is ecologically sustainable, is in the public interest and, to the greatest possible extent, preserves the land’s natural and cultural condition.

The NC Act is supported by the Implementation Framework for Ecotourism Facilities in National Parks (PDF, 1.2MB) and the Best Practice Ecotourism Development Guidelines (PDF, 1.1MB) which underpin a rigorous assessment process.

The Queensland Government recognises the need to attract more nature-based visitors. This is reflected in the Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016–2020, where one of the five strategic directions is stimulating investment in new and refurbished ecotourism opportunities.

QPWS is partnering with the tourism industry to ensure nature-based tourism continues to thrive.