Nature Based Tourism has become increasingly popular in the last five years according to the latest Tourism and Transport Forum reports. All visitor categories recorded stronger growth for visitors seeking an experience of the natural Australian environment than in overall visitor numbers (see figure 1).
In 2016, 5.2 million International visitors (over two thirds of the total International visitors), over 20 million domestic overnight visitors and 23.6 million day visitors, engaged in nature based tourism, overall contributing more than $40 billion to our country.
Nature parks like Kakadu wetlands and Philip Island are already often the drivers for visitation jobs and growth. Phillip Island Nature Parks announced a contribution of $498 million and over 2100 jobs to Victoria for the 16/17 financial year, up a whopping 24% in just the last two years.
It goes without saying, with small rural Victorian towns faring economically worse than those of any other state in the country (SGS Economics and Planning), yet affording us stunning wetlands which would rival Kakadu, many home to rare and edangered species of birds, its well time we protected and leveraged our precious nature assets for the lucrative trend of nature tourism across the rest of rural Victoria.
Its about jobs for our children in rural Victorian towns.
Picture of Great Egret in flight, courtesy of Dorith Callander