Queensland Eco and Sustainable Tourism (QuEST)

    What is QuEST?

    The Queensland Eco and Sustainable Tourism (QuEST) delivered a policy framework for ecotourism operators accessing targeted high visitation national parks.

    QuEST provided:

    • business certainty
    • best practice standards
    • support for authorised tourism operators
    • opportunities for growth
    • streamlined administration.

    The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), a division of our department, is determined to ensure the tourism industry is consistently able to provide high-quality, nature-based experiences across a range of iconic protected areas. QPWS delivered opportunities and certainty for tourism growth through the QuEST initiative by actively managing access to ensure that full commercial opportunity is attained at sites within a sustainable management framework.

    A key issue that QuEST addressed was permits not being used to full capacity, creating latency problems. QuEST focused on the effective use of allocated capacity to make available the full tourism opportunity.

    The tourism industry supported the removal of latent capacity to sustainable levels to maximise the full extent of commercial opportunities.

    When was QuEST implemented?

    QuEST was released in July 2013. The QuEST framework was then implemented for tourism operators conducting guided tours in K’gari (Fraser Island) Recreation Area.

    QPWS managed the implementation process and communicated directly with all permitted tourism operators.

    What did QuEST mean for authorised tourism operators?

    All tourism operators conducting guided tours in the K’gari (Fraser Island) Recreation Area were required to be authorised under a commercial activity agreement.

    All operators previously authorised by a commercial activity permit to conduct guided tours were eligible to transfer to 15-year commercial activity agreements. Tourism operators were offered the opportunity to transfer to an agreement prior to the expiry of their permit.

    Long-term agreement holders who conducted guided tours in the K’gari (Fraser Island) Recreation Areawere required to:

    • be eco-certified
    • have their capacity reviewed regularly
    • comply with QuEST subcontracting requirements.