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Commercial tourism on parks

Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Photo: 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 year and contribute billions of dollars to the Queensland economy. Tourists visiting Queensland’s national parks spend $4.43 billion annually—28% of all total tourist spending in Queensland.

Over 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 tourist resorts and a wide variety of businesses that rely on tourism.

With outstanding natural attractions like Fraser Island, 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 tourism demands and continues to be ecologically sustainable.

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

Queensland Ecotourism Trails

Sustainable ecotourism experiences are able to showcase Queensland’s special natural and cultural values while offering visitors and locals unique and memorable experiences in some of the state’s most spectacular areas.

The Queensland Government is committed to progressing new best-practice iconic ecotourism experiences to attract further growth in the domestic and international visitor market.

Ecotourism opportunities may include the design, construction, operation and maintenance of multi-day trails, specialised eco-accommodation, tour guidance and cultural experiences. These opportunities will offer ongoing employment and economic benefits for their respective regional communities and Traditional Owners.

What is the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program?

The Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016-2020 (PDF, 1.7M) (The Plan) provides the framework for building a thriving ecotourism industry and delivering new ecotourism experiences in Queensland’s spectacular natural areas. The Plan consists of a suite of actions aligned with five strategic directions, one of which is stimulating investment in new and refurbished ecotourism opportunities.

A project team from Department of Environment and Science (DES), Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) has been established to deliver adventure and ecotourism experiences at iconic Queensland destinations, including within or adjacent to national parks, as identified by the Government. Currently they include (with additional future opportunities expected) the:

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

The objectives of the Queensland Ecotourism Trails program are to:

  • Position Queensland to capture the socio-economic benefits associated with the increasing demand for adventure and nature-based tourism opportunities in and around national parks.
  • Develop trails located on public land, but providing opportunities for private sector investment.
  • Develop a model for private sector investment in ecotourism opportunities to maximise the economic and financial benefits of opportunities that may or may not have catalytic public funding.
  • Add new tourism offerings in and around National Parks in Queensland - and create new reasons for visitors to travel within and into the State.
  • Develop nationally significant trails, known internationally and capable of attracting international visitors.
  • Create new opportunities for employment through management and maintenance of the trails.
  • Provide an opportunity to educate and inform people about the natural and cultural values of the area through which the trails pass.

Program benefits

Ecotourism plays a vital role in rural and remote communities, generating economic and social benefits and creating resilience through sustainable employment options and local pride. Visitor and market interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture presents an important opportunity for employment and business development for Indigenous Australians.  

Property previously known as Springbrook Mountain Manor, Springbrook Plateau expression of interest

An expression of interest (EOI) process for the property previously known as the Springbrook Mountain Manor closed on 7 September 2015. Suitably experienced individuals and organisations were invited to submit their proposals for a tourism/active healthy lifestyle concept for the site.

Ecotourism facility expressions of interest

Suitably experienced individuals and organisations were invited to submit proposals for developing privately owned, low impact, purpose-built ecotourism infrastructure through a state-wide EOI process in 2013.

An EOI process for the Green Mountains campground in Lamington National Park closed on 29 November 2013. Suitably experienced individuals and organisations were invited to submit their proposals for developing privately owned, low impact, purpose-built ecotourism infrastructure at this site.

An EOI process for the development of a Commercial Activity Centre at Walkabout Creek, adjacent to D'Aguilar National Park closed on 12 December 2014. Suitably experienced individuals and organisations were invited to submit their ideas and proposals for the development of privately owned, low impact, purpose-built ecotourism infrastcuture at the site.

More information on these EOIs is available on the previously released opportunities page.

Any enquiries on the EOIs can be sent to .

Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016-2020

The Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016–2020 (PDF, 1.7M) promotes a fresh approach to ecotourism and was open for public consultation between 8 October to 20 November 2015.

Expressions of Interest for commercial activities

The procedural guide Expressions of Interest for commercial activities on QPWS managed areas (PDF, 808K) sets out the process to be followed by QPWS officers when expressions of interest are called for the conducting of a commercial activity in a QPWS managed area.

Last updated
16 October 2018