A new tour guide training and development program for Queensland’s Wet Tropics will reaffirm the far north as a leader in World Heritage tourism as the industry bounces back.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority (the Authority) are collaborating with the Department of Environment and Science and Tourism and Events Queensland to develop and deliver the program, to be launched in 2023.
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said the $195,000 investment over four years will see the creation of a new tour guide program focused on industry best practice.
“The program will enhance World Heritage presentation, interpretation and experience delivery and will complement the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s highly revered Master Reef Guides program,” Ms Scanlon said.
“The specifically trained guides this program will deliver will be a great resource for the tourism industry as it rebuilds with tourists returning to the far north.
“Guides play a key role in delivering transformational experiences and developing a new quality program for guides will enhance the visitor experience.”
“The Wet Tropics region is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Queensland, and this program can help enhance that reputation.”
Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Innovation Stirling Hinchliffe said the program would enhance Queensland’s already remarkable Wet Tropics.
“The guide development program complements the work by tourist operators to rebuild better for the future,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Queensland visitors love our World Heritage-listed experiences, and we know the Wet Tropics will be on the bucket list of overseas and domestic travellers in the decades before and after the 2032 Games.
“World-class tourism experiences found only in Queensland are critical to rebuilding our $6 billion international tourism industry.
“International visitors support local accommodation and transport providers, restaurants, cafes, hotels and tourism and tour operators.
“That’s why we’ve partnered with Queensland’s four international airports on a $200 million international aviation attraction fund to restore world connectivity to places like the Wet Tropics.”
Executive Director of the Authority Scott Buchanan said having two World Heritage Areas side by side in the far north provides a unique advantage in nature-based tourism.
“We will be able to better leverage our position as Australia’s most biodiverse state and deliver experiences that pay respect to the outstanding values of our two World Heritage Areas—the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Buchanan said.
“There is a strong desire to build awareness of the Wet Tropics and its significant and diverse natural and cultural values.
“This new program will help build upon the prestigious World Heritage brand that the region rightly deserves.”
Tourism management expert Dr Sally Driml, who sits on the Authority’s Board, said developing a new guide program is one of six goals of the Wet Tropics Sustainable Tourism Plan 2021–2031.
“This new program also aligns with Tourism and Events Queensland’s Nature-based Tourism Strategy 2021–2024,” Ms Driml said.
“It supports our goal to invigorate far north Queensland’s green economy by supporting a sustainable and resilient tourism industry within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
“Investing in best-practice sustainable tourism with a program like this will position us well for the future, including leading up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The other five goals of the Authority’s tourism plan are: respect for Country and people; Rainforest Aboriginal tourism aspirations; building awareness through consistent messaging and branding; increased community involvement and advocacy; and collaborative visitor management.
Watch the promo video for more information.
Wet Tropics Management Authority Media and Communications Team
Aaron Smith | Senior Media and Communications Officer
Mobile: 0439362790 | Aaron.Smith@wtma.qld.gov.au