Page 2748 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013

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Additional details regarding all instruments are provided in the statement of reasons accompanying each of the instruments I have tabled this afternoon. I commend all 30 instruments to the Assembly.

Climate Change, Environment and Water—Standing Committee (Seventh Assembly)

Report 8—government response

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (3.59): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Climate Change, Environment and Water—Standing Committee—Report 8—Inquiry into Current and Potential Ecotourism in the ACT and Region—Government response, dated August 2013.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

I am pleased to table the government’s response to the report by the Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and Water into current and potential ecotourism in the ACT and region. The government has agreed to five of the committee’s recommendations. The government’s position has been formed following extensive consultation across each of the ACT government directorates.

Before outlining the government’s position, I would like to briefly provide some context on the role for ecotourism in the territory and the surrounding region. Opportunities to engage with the natural environment not only provide motivation for domestic and international travel but also play an important role in improving environmental awareness and behaviour amongst travellers. Ecotourism Australia describes ecotourism as “ecologically sustainable tourism” with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas, fostering environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. In many cases the term “ecotourism” is used interchangeably with “nature-based tourism”.

The ACT and surrounding region offers a range of products and experiences that provide opportunities for visitors and the community to engage with the environment. These include Namadgi national park and of course Tidbinbilla, which is located at the foothills of the heritage-listed Australian Alps.

The latest visitation figures indicate that in the 12 months to March 2013, over 270,000 domestic overnight visitors took part in outdoor and nature-based activities during their visit to the ACT. When looking at international visitors, over 70 per cent took part in outdoor and nature-based activities during their Australian trip.

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