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Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia Research Paper


Different parts of the world are characterized by different economic activities. For example, some regions are famous for their agricultural activities while others rely on mining and fishing. Tourism is yet another leading economic activity in certain regions. A good example is the far north of Queensland, Australia.

The area contributes a certain degree of a nation’s total revenue which is in turn utilized in various ways for instance development or social responsibility. Tourism is a very critical sector of the economy and it entails the provision of various services to tourists who visit tourism attraction sites. Tourism in Australia is ranked among the most resourceful aspects of the country’s economy mainly as a result of the various potential tourism attraction sites (Cooper & Hall, 2007).

The essay endeavors to provide an in-depth discussion of the key issues that impact on the management of tourism in protected areas. A lot of emphasis has been placed on the far north of Queensland in Australia. Some of the issues to be discussed include the planning of the future landscapes in the wet topics which entails the social- ecological framework, the indigenous tourism in the wet tropics, the limits of number of visitors in the attraction sites, and the feral animal control.

Tourism management

Protected areas are the locations known for the values they hold for the society. This could be in the form of natural values, social values, economic value and ecological value. There are different laws and regulations that govern different categories of protected areas depending on a specific nation or other external bodies that could be responsible for governing or conserving the environment.

Marine protected areas form a significant constituent of the overall protected areas in any given nation. Protected areas form the basis for biodiversity conservation and management through the streamlining of conservation strategies (Kelleher, 1999).

Some of the notable tourism protected areas in far north Queensland include the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Green Island, the Skyrail rainforest and the Mossman gorge national park, among others. For the sake of this assignment I will look at the key issues influencing tourism management in these areas. The Green Island is located in the Great Barrier Reef.

It is both a heritage site and a protected area. It is very attractive with a unique reef and good environment surrounded by a rainforest and for this reason. It holds diversity for attraction (for instance, plant species and birds). The Skyrail rainforests is an intriguing natural area with a diversity of rich flora and fauna hence the attraction of tourists.

On the other hand, Mossman gorge national park has rich heritage in terms of the animals and other tourism aspects contained therein. It offers a good and accessible path to the tropical rainforest. Mamu rainforest walkway is an interesting walkway running through the world heritage rainforest’s canopy. It is a notable tourist attraction site in the wet tropics.

It is surrounded by numerous attractive features. From the above description of the protected areas, it is evident that they form a large pool of attractions. Proper management of this areas is however crucial in ensuring that the sites retain their value and hence do not lose their tourism essence.

Management of the protected areas is not an easy task as it is surrounded by a variety of challenges some of which are very difficult to eliminate. Here are the key issues associated with the above protected areas in Queensland. The challenges are also discussed and some ways of dealing with them highlighted (Lawrence and Woodley, 2002).

Aboriginal tourism

Tourism management is a crucial aspect that should never be underemphasized under any circumstance. This is because it allows for all the activities and practices to be carried out in an effective manner by offering substantial benefits to a majority of people including the locals and the tourists for the longest period of time possible. Management of protected areas plays a key role in increasing tourism benefits.

It is an aspect that has been linked to increased tourism in terms of the number of visitors received and the expenditure they make which forms a large pool of revenue. Proper management also ensures that a good relationship is established between the locals and the visitors/tourists. This could be made possible by involvement of the local community in the various tourism activities for instance through provision of job opportunities.

This way, they feel well represented and learn to appreciate tourism and are even ready to undertake environment conservation-related activities in an effort to safeguard the environment as a way of achieving a sustainable environment and hence sustainable tourism. Management of the protected areas also avoids the risk of extinction of the endangered species through provision of safe and conducive environment that fosters their existence (Gubbay, 1995).

Some of the management practices undertaken in Australia include increasing or diversifying recreational opportunities. The protected areas in Queensland offer the most magnificent natural attractions that improve the image of Australia as a nation.

The expansion of the protected areas is therefore very essential for the purpose of providing an important resource in terms of recreation for the people as well as environmental education and tourism in particular. Apart from being a good guide in biodiversity conservation, the management of the protected areas also offers a competitive advantage in the extremely competitive domestic and international tourism markets.

The protected areas should be well maintained to ensure that their value does not deteriorate in any way. Indigenous protected areas in Australia entail areas which could either be dry land or sea whereby the initial owners to the places enter into a long-term agreement with the nation’s government and other responsible bodies to take part in active promotion of biodiversity and conservation of natural and cultural resources in the area.

Some of the examples include the Green Island, the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Skyrail rainforest and the Mossman gorge national park. There are usually some mutual benefits associated with the agreement. Although the indigenous protected areas are so significant and considered an integral part of the national reserve system, they are neither managed by the state government nor regulated by the Queensland legislation.

Very much has been put forth in regard to the management of the indigenous protected areas in Australia due to the benefits associated with them. It for example helps the local community to protect and safeguard important cultural attributes and values for the sake of the future generations. The wet tropics of Queensland are very rich in tourism attributes for instance waterfalls, rain forests, mountains and rivers.

They are a world heritage area and hence the need to be managed effectively (Edgar, Russ, and Babcock, 2007). Management practices in all the above named protected areas in Queensland have currently been enhanced and most of the tourism related problems have been dealt with effectively.

Planning of the future landscapes in the wet topics

Planning of the future landscapes in the wet topics which entails the social- ecological framework is another key issue when it comes to the management of protected areas in Queensland. It is argued that the main value of tourism in the protected areas does not come from the tourist activities and operations but rather from the benefits enjoyed by the local communities to an extent of having the desire to retain the tourists in the areas for the longest time possible.

Planning of the future landscape comes in to ensure that the tourism attributes do not lose their meaning with evolution of time which is in turn linked with changes in demand and needs for both the local community and the tourists. The planning should move at par with the changing needs for instance in the recreation activities.

To ensure that the future of the Mossman gorge national park, the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Green Island and the Skyrail rainforest is bright, some frameworks should be established and implemented. The Queensland tourism strategy which has been established based on market research and the trends forecasted provides a framework to ensure this (Kenchington, 1990).

Limit on the number of operators and visitors

Regulation of the number of visitors in the protected areas is also a crucial aspect in tourism management. In as much as tourists are considered to be essential elements to the tourists attraction sites, their number in the protected areas should be regulated to ensure that there is appropriate utilization of the resources therein.

This will in a way help in maintaining sustainable tourism. The tourism carrying capacity in a protected area should always be maintained under all circumstances. This entails the maximum number of individuals that can visit a protected area simultaneously without causing any harm to the area. The destruction could take different forms for instance social- cultural, economic as well as physical destruction.

Tourism in any area should not lead to its deterioration but rather the responsible individuals and bodies should ensure that the area retains its value for the sake of tomorrow. Various tools are utilized in an effort to manage the visitors in protected areas. They include group size limit which entails regulating the number of visitors visiting an area at a time in a group and pre-assignment of the protected areas which entails allocation of persons to particular areas far before the due time.

This is very beneficial as it allows for optimal utilization of the protected areas especially those with limited capacity but high demand. Protected area closure is also a strategy that has found significant application in various protected areas in Queensland as a way of limiting visitors in a particular location.

All these efforts are aimed at ensuring that the tourism attraction sites retain their natural value even after people visit them to ensure that they stay meaningful for a relatively long period of time. It is a way of fostering a sustainable tourism industry.

The number of operators in the protected areas should also be kept at a certain optimal size. This allows for a balance between the operators and the visitors. The number of operators should however be able to effectively offer the required support services needed by the visitors. This will allow for healthy utilization of resources in the protected areas without causing harm to the environment (Agardy et al., 2003).

Feral animal controls

Feral animal control is also a management measure that is emphasized in the protected areas in Australia. This can be seen in the Mossman gorge national park, the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Green Island and the Skyrail rainforest. Feral animals in these protected areas have various impacts on the native species for example through spreading of diseases, destroying habitats, increasing competition for food among others.

For this reason, there is need for their control to avoid pressure on the native spices. The feral animals could be controlled through various control methods such as convectional control tools like trapping and fencing and biological control methods which entail the control of biological elements like pests and other disease carrying organisms (Hughes, 1994).

There are various challenges related to the general management of protected areas in the far north Queensland in Australia (the Mossman gorge national park, the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Green Island and the Skyrail rainforest). The challenges are in regard to the relationship between the environment and local population and tourist and the particular ecosystems in a given region.

Most of the challenges are faced as a result of the presence of unpredictable issues connected with the environment and ecology which could in many instances get the people involved in the management of the areas unawares and hence they are unable to take appropriate actions. For this reason, it becomes crucial that each protected area have its specific guidelines for management depending on its needs and the factors that may threaten its existence and prosperity in one way or the other.

Another general challenge that could be faced in any given protected area includes the enforcement of boundaries along the protected areas. This is so because it is an expensive undertaking in terms of resources involved for instance time and finances. The issue becomes even worse when the procedure entails displacement of the local people in an effort to protect the natural resources thought to be at risk of extinction if proper action is not considered.

This step is often received negatively by the local community leading to an unhealthy relationship between them and those involved in the conservation procedures. This in turn brings about another threat where the local community may result to revenge activities for instance poaching as they see as if their rights are violated in the name of conserving the environment and the resources contained therein (Kenchington, 2003).

Another notable challenge associated with the management of the protected areas is the need to incorporate the societal needs in all the strategies associated with the protected areas. The issues is even more disturbing when the societal needs do not correspond with the conservation needs hence necessitating some form of compromise.

Effective management of the protected areas therefore entails combined efforts of the various people involved including the local community. Although this is a beneficial step, it is not easy and may take considerable amount of time before a consensus is reached at. All in all it is a procedure that is worth investing in (Tribe & Airey, 2007).

To ensure that the current and future of the Mossman gorge national park, the Mamu rainforest walk way, the Green Island and the Skyrail rainforest is bright, some strategies should be established and implemented. Some of them include considering different management frameworks for instance visitor impact management, limits of acceptable change and the recreation opportunity spectrum among others.


Tourism is a very crucial aspect in any economy and Australia in particular. It has been a major contributor of the country’s development through the various social as well as economic benefits associated with it. This factor has to a large extent been facilitated by the fact that the country especially the far north Queensland has the advantage of having a variety of tourist attraction sites each contributing a certain percentage of benefits to the country at large.

The protected areas in far north Queensland have been very essential in the maintenance of functional natural ecosystems, an aspect that is worth spending on for the sake of the current as well as the future generations. They act as safe locations to endangered species and help in maintaining ecological processes that would otherwise not prosper in other areas associated with various risks.

They have helped in the management of endangered species hence preventing their extinction. Management of tourism is a key concept more so when it comes to the protected areas. This ensures that all issues are kept at a balance for instance the inputs versus the outputs. Tourism management includes issues like conservation of the environment to ensure its sustainability for the sake of current as well as the future generations.

Reference List

Agardy, T. et al. (2003). Dangerous Targets? Unresolved Issues and Ideological Clashes around Marine Protected Areas. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst, 13: 353-367.

Cooper, C., & Hall, M.C. (2007). Contemporary Tourism: An International Approach. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Edgar, G., Russ G., & Babcock R. (2007). Marine Protected Areas, in Marine Ecology by Connell S. and Gillanders B. (Eds) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gubbay, S. (1995). Marine Protected Areas – Past, Present and Future, in Marine Protected Areas by Gubbay S (Ed). Melbourne: Chapman and Hall.

Hughes T.P. (1994). Catastrophes, phase shifts, and large scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef. Science, 265:1547-1551

Kenchington R. (1990). Managing Marine Environments. New York: Taylor and Francis.

Kenchington R.A. (2003). Managing Marine Environments: An Introduction to Issues of Sustainability, Conservation, Planning and Implementation in Conserving Marine Environments. Mosman, NSW Australia: Royal Zoological Society of NSW:

Lawrence D. R. K., & Woodley, S. (Eds) (2002). The Great Barrier Reef – Finding the Right Balance. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Kelleher, G. (1999). Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Tribe, J. & Airey, D. (2007). Developments in Tourism Research, Volume 7. New York: Elsevier.

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Hardy, J. (2020, January 16). Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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Hardy, Jaiden. "Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia." IvyPanda, 16 Jan. 2020,

1. Jaiden Hardy. "Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia." IvyPanda (blog), January 16, 2020.


Hardy, Jaiden. "Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia." IvyPanda (blog), January 16, 2020.


Hardy, Jaiden. 2020. "Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia." IvyPanda (blog), January 16, 2020.


Hardy, J. (2020) 'Key Issues Impacting Managing Tourism in Protected Areas in Far North Queensland, Australia'. IvyPanda, 16 January.

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