Prominent Queensland tourism and conservation organisations have united to urge the Australian government to financially commit to doubling the size of protected areas in order to boost tourism and local economies ahead of 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
The government has earlier spoken of expanding the area of protected land in Queensland from 8.2% to 17%, an increase of 15m hectares. But the members of the new Tourism and Conservation Alliance said that it is time for investment if the government wishes to accomplish the promises of its Protected Areas Strategy.
“We should be aiming to double [protected land] by 2032,” said Dave Copeman,the director of the Queensland Conservation Council.
The new alliance comprises Ecotourism Australia, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Queensland First Nations Tourism Council, Queensland Conservation Council, Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Parks Association Queensland.
Daniel Gschwind, the CEO of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, said that expanding Queensland’s current protected areas would create numerous benefits ahead of the 2032 Olympics.
“Such an investment yields many returns for the community. Protecting and presenting new national parks will provide new opportunities for tourism, recreation and regional development across the state,” Gschwind said.