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Tourism Development in the Rangelands of Western Australia

Western Australia’s Rangelands cover around 87 per cent (2,266,000 sq. km) of the State’s land mass, and 75 per cent of its coastline (Figure 1). Land tenure within this area comprises pastoral leases, freehold, unallocated Crown Land, National Parks, Conservation Reserves, Special Purpose Leases and Aboriginal Reserves and mining leases.

This area includes a diverse group of relatively undisturbed ecosystems such as tropical savannahs, woodlands, shrub lands and grasslands. Rangelands extend across low rainfall areas and variable climates, including arid, semi-arid, and some seasonally high rainfall areas and sub-tropic climates in the far north of the State.

Many of the State’s iconic landscapes are located within these rangeland areas, and provide Western Australia with unique attractions for marketing and promotions that will attract visitors. While a number of tourism experiences including accommodation, tours and activities operate within this environment, the vast expanse, distances between destinations, and impact of seasonality presents challenges for
existing and prospective tourism businesses.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on how tourism can best be developed on the rangelands in order to meet these challenges and deliver high quality experiences that provide a point of difference. This recognises that tourism has the potential to increase employment opportunities, diversify economic activity, and help level out seasonality of labour and income in rural and regional communities, which have traditionally relied on primary industry.

To achieve this, consideration is given to gaps in product, challenges and potential opportunities. The document outlines a series of principles designed to support sustainable tourism development, and examines case studies to inform decision making processes. Information and links to further resources on tenure and legislative and regulatory approval requirements are also provided to assist potential proponents
in understanding these matters.

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