Australia's conservation and parks organisations have become actively involved in the debate over tourism use of national parks and their associated wilderness areas. To date, at least seven organisations have produced at least ten formal policy statements and submissions. This paper presents an analysis of these policy statements. The policies reviewed use a narrow definition of tourism, based on the presence or absence of commercial, private sector activity. If commercial activity exists, then tourism exists; if not, then it is considered to be recreation. This distinction reflects the widely held opinion among many environmentalists that non-commercial use of national parks is acceptable, but that commercial use is essentially unacceptable, even though the groups may be participating in the same activity. The author argues that while making a number of valuable suggestions, these policies suffer from major conceptual flaws that minimise their contribution to the debate on acceptable human uses of parks. The author concludes by making a number of recommendations to rectify the conceptual flaws inherent in the policies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development