Queensland is the fortunate custodian of five world heritage listed sites: the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, the Wet Tropics, Goondwana Rainforests, and the Riversleigh World Heritage site. These sites are not only unique and naturally beautiful but also environmentally sensitive.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest tourism market after New South Wales, accounting for 24.6 per cent of the national tourism output and employing around 130 900 people. Our world heritage sites are a cornerstone of the tourism industry, some attracting increasing numbers of visitors.
Sustainably managing the tourism and environmental priorities of these sites presents significant challenges for the responsible public sector agencies. While considerable national and international attention has been given to the management of, and risks to, the Great Barrier Reef, considerably less public attention has been given to our four other world heritage sites.
The Department of Environment and Science is responsible for protecting these sites. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the day-to-day management of the sites, while promoting tourism is managed by a range of public sector agencies. In 2016, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (then a unit in the former Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing) released the Government’s Ecotourism Plan 2016–20.