The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has welcomed Sunday’s announcement by Minister for Tourism, Adam Marshall, to develop a nature-based tourism strategy to ‘unlock NSW’s multi-billion dollar backyard’, and calls on the Government to heed NPA’s Forests For All strategy to exit native forest logging on public land and use the forests to promote nature conservation to underpin nature-based tourism.
Tourism Australia describes Australia’s ‘world class nature’ as its biggest strength, and Destination NSW research shows that nature-based visitors spent $18.3 billion in 2016—with visitor numbers growing consistently.
“We have known for a long time that national parks are one of the biggest attractions pulling visitors out of Sydney and into regional NSW, and we welcome the Government’s recognition of nature as fundamental to regional economies”, said NPA CEO, Ms Alix Goodwin.
“Just last Wednesday night we launched our Forests For All Case for Change at NSW Parliament. It demonstrates that there is an economically-viable way to transition away from logging, protect two million hectares of public forests and provide jobs and economic benefits to regional communities, including through nature-based tourism.
“We must remember that many of our outstanding national parks were only created through dedicated efforts of groups like NPA to protect them from logging or clearing for short-term gain—often hotly contested at the time, but in retrospect the right decision.
“The dollar figures show that not only are protected areas key to conserving wildlife and landscapes, but the efforts to protect them have paid off providing substantial revenue to NSW on an ongoing basis.
“NPA is urging the Government to take seriously it’s proposals, like Forests For All and the Great Koala National Park that will complement the proposed strategy by protecting the nature that underpins nature-based tourism.
“We have written to Minister Marshall to draw his attention to our proposals and we look forward to working with the Government on its nature-based tourism strategy.”
Media contact: Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist: 9299 0000