‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ was the theme for World Environment Day in 2018 and was a prominent topic at the QTIC event, including the inspiring 10-year-old Straw No More campaigner, Molly Steer. A second ‘hot issue’ for tourism operators from around the state was our ability to make the most of Queensland’s nature-based tourism opportunities.
QTIC’s annual World Environment Day lunch – this year held at the Cairns Aquarium – was a sell out with almost 100 guests attending.
QTIC’s Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind pointed out that this day was a reminder that: “The environment is crucial to our industry and protecting it is essential to the future of the tourism industry in Queensland.”
“It’s not just the reef that we need to protect, but everything from our beaches and waterways, to our rainforests, urban bushlands and outback,” he said.
Guest speaker and former Tasmania Parks and Wildlife General Manager, Peter Mooney, shared his experiences in successfully transforming the management agencies approach to tourism. He reported how the provision of quality infrastructure and facilities as helped make Tasmania’s iconic bush walks more sustainable, reducing the impact from visitors and generating an economic boost to the community.
The event also saw the launch of a new research report by Central Queensland University and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre: Impact of the 2016 and 2017 mass coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry and tourism-dependent communities of Queensland. A sobering but informative read that will help us be prepared for the next set of challenges.
The central message of the day was from a consensus from the panel – Peter Mooney; Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef CEO, Andy Ridley; and Straw No More campaigner Molly Steer: the tourism industry has a role in spreading the word about the importance of protecting the environment and it also has a responsibility to ‘walk the walk’.
The Cairns Aquarium provided the perfect backdrop for the event and we want to thank our sponsors for the generous support on the day: Pullman Hotels and Resorts, Queensland Government, James Cook University, Tourism and Events Queensland, and Fun Over Fifty.