Reefs, recreation and regulation

addressing tourism pressures at the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage site

Andrea Bassett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


World Heritage listing is of critical interest to states seeking to draw global attention to their cultural and natural heritage. This attention provides a significant opportunity for tourism development, but can create conflict if economic drivers override best practice heritage management. The World Heritage Convention seeks to balance these tensions by imposing on parties the duty to both protect and present their listed sites. This article explores the inherent conflict of openly presenting sites to the public while also fully protecting their World Heritage values, in the context of ecotourism regulation in the recently listed Ningaloo Coast, Western Australia. Federal and State legislation are analysed, and it is found that regulation of human-wildlife interactions and tour operator licensing in Ningaloo are crucial for balancing these conflicting duties. Recommendations are made to ensure Australia meets its World Heritage obligations of this unique and pristine site for future generations to enjoy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-255
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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