Bigger Tent Needed for Tourism

Today’s release of a vision for tourism in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area reveals a “closed-shop” approach by the Tasmanian Government, says Environment Tasmania, the State’s peak conservation council.

“The Government is saying ‘trust us, we’re working closely with industry’” says Charlie Sherwin, CEO of Environment Tasmania. “But community and environmental interests have a strong claim to be included in development of tourism policy especially in the World Heritage Area.

“Tasmania’s economy has to be based around appreciation of beautiful places environmental values and clever ideas, but the Government’s tourism vision will flop if they get too cosy with developers and industry.

Today’s release of a vision for tourism in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area reveals a “closed-shop” approach by the Tasmanian Government, says Environment Tasmania, the State’s peak conservation council.

“The Government is saying ‘trust us, we’re working closely with industry’” says Charlie Sherwin, CEO of Environment Tasmania. “But community and environmental interests have a strong claim to be included in development of tourism policy especially in the World Heritage Area.

“Tasmania’s economy has to be based around appreciation of beautiful places environmental values and clever ideas, but the Government’s tourism vision will flop if they get too cosy with developers and industry.

“Serenity, beauty and majestic wildness are what attract people from hectic mainland cities and over-developed countries abroad. It’s crucial that we don’t degrade these values with inappropriate developments and private investments inside the World Heritage Area.

“The priority projects in the Government’s ‘reimagining’ document have been identified ‘through industry consultation’ by the industry itself (with Government collusion). This echo chamber approach will miss ideas and alienate most Tasmanians.

“The document says Government ‘has committed to a big reform agenda’ and a ‘mutually binding strategic framework’ binding Government to industry, to the exclusion of the community they’re supposed to represent.

“The Government wants to ‘shift the Parks and Wildlife Service’s culture’ towards serving industry, not the people and parks of Tasmania. This wrong-headed idea could only arise from a process that excludes everyone except industry.

“Tasmanian taxpayers don’t want to shovel money into a fund to support luxury experiences for the rich. And they won’t support cozy deals made with no-one except industry “in the tent”. Minister Matthew Groom must start listening to people who disagree with him.

“We can build a bright future for Tasmania without excluding Tasmanians from luxury tourism leases on public lands, or from deciding the future of our World Heritage Area.

The document Reimagining the visitor experience of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, an ecotourism investment profile produced by the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government, was launched today.

For comment:
Charlie Sherwin
Chief Executive Officer
0431 004702