Ecotourism in Australia
Ecotourism is a branch of the tourism industry that came into fruition during the 1990s. This form of tourism strives to protect the native cultures and environments of destinations while entertaining and informing tourists of all ages. For many years people within the tourism industry have debated what destinations and practices truly qualify as ecotourism without reaching a definitive consensus. This controversy, I will suggest, originates from a lack of leadership among policy makers and the fundamental contradiction of selfishness and selflessness that constitutes the business of making environmental and cultural experiences a consumer product. The goal of my thesis is to explore the current status of the ecotourism industry in general and Australian ecotourism in particular. Australia has always been a leader in the development of ecotourism. While their certification program provides a model for the industry, I believe that their practices also expose some of the central paradoxes and problems of the trade overall, as well as areas for improvement. Australia's biodiversity, rich indigenous culture, and natural beauty represent a particularly important resource for better understanding our world and environment, a resource that demands our utmost protection. In addition to my paper, I have included an Artist Statement and brochure that showcase potential ecotourism experiences within the different regions of Australia and promote ecotourism overall.