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Statutory and Planning Environment

Tourism involves a complex interaction between a variety of sectors including economic development, infrastructure development, transport, protected area management, community development, sport and recreation, heritage management and hospitality. For this reason, the industry is faced with a wide range of planning and environmental regulations and frameworks. Strong public / private sector partnerships are essential to providing the tourism industry with the opportunity to influence and inform tourism policy and planning and provide the certainty needed to encourage investment.

Partnerships between industry, the community and government can play an important role in:

  • Ensuring that planning and development for tourism is aligned with the needs of all stakeholders including residents, visitors, industry and government;
  • Attracting private investment to a destination requires a planning and regulatory environment that addresses issues such as regulatory barriers, taxation and multi-layered approval and decision making processes;
  • The development of tourism master plans for a destination to provide the necessary zoning and development opportunities for investment in tourism facilities and precincts;
  • The incorporation of tourism considerations into design guidelines for transport planning, land-use planning, precinct development and zoning. Noosa provides a best practice example of a region that was able to partner with government to inform the development of appropriate land-use planning and development controls to ensure the preservation of the destination’s tourism character and appeal;

The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) has examined both the ingredients of successful public / private partnerships for sustainable tourism and the legal basis for tourism planning. Further information on the public sector role in tourism development can be found in the ‘Public Infrastructure’ section while information on private sector investment is provided in the ‘Private Infrastructure and Investment’ section.

The STCRC have also explored adaptive and mitigation strategies for the tourism industry to respond to climate change policies and regulations, culminating in the EarthCheck building and precinct planning, design and operating programs. Implications of climate change policies include mandatory restrictions, carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes. Further information on the STCRC’s research into climate change and tourism in Australia can be found under ‘Climate Change’.

Destination Management Tip

There are over 175 Acts in Australia relating to tourism. Understanding the statutory and planning environment is essential for long term sustainability. The STCRC report ‘The Legal Basis for State and Territory Tourism Planning’ provides a summary of relevant tourism legislation.


Browse case studies:

Legal Basis for State and Territory Tourism Planning

This study identified and collated the range of current legislation and regulatory agencies that impact upon, or facilitate, tourism planning in the states and territories of Australia, for the benefit of industry and government stakeholders alike.

by Sacha Reid, Lisa Ruhanen, Michael Davidson, Nicole Johnston

Public/Private Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism

The objective of this report is to provide a framework for the sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry in the APEC region, through public/private partnerships, and to deliver a sustainability strategy for tourism destinations.

by Terry De Lacy, Marion Battig, Stewart Moore and Steve Noakes

Sustainable Tourism Precincts in Rural and Regional Areas

This report focuses on the concept and operation of sustainable tourism precincts in rural and regional areas. The successful development of new precincts and efficient maintenance of existing ones require the appreciation and implementation of a complex range of skills applied to a wide variety of interconnected issues. These include community dynamics, tangible physical infrastructure, the intangible characteristics and values of place, and understandings of sustainability. The study aims to improve understanding of rural and regional tourism precincts by:

  • providing a useful working definition of a precinct;
  • identifying the major issues of precinct development and maintenance;
  • summarising the theoretical and practical state of knowledge of these issues and identify ‘gaps’ in both knowledge and practice;
  • recommending areas of future action on precincts and precinct planning.

by Catriona McLeod, Gregory Nolan and Margaret Bartholomew