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Sustainable Research on a Remote Island: the Cape Barren Island Aboriginal Community, Tasmania

posted on 2023-05-26, 13:46 authored by Binding, CE
Small, remote island communities often share problems of isolation and limited natural resources to sustain a viable economy, consequently many have sought to diversify into the tourism industry. The Aboriginal community of Cape Barren Island, Tasmania, has very limited economic activities and is considering tourism ventures. Sustainable island tourism may provide important economic, social and cultural opportunities to stimulate self-sufficiency, community cohesion, cultural preservation, as well as self-determination and empowerment for the Aboriginal community. The aim of the research was to analyse how the Cape Barren Island community could develop sustainable island tourism. The research pathway was directed by ascertaining the natural and cultural values on the island and identifying and assessing the opportunities, benefits, issues and constraints for the community to develop sustainable island tourism. A qualitative research approach was employed which incorporated the concept of triangulation. Semi-structured interviews, a focus group and field observations were conducted on Cape Barren Island. Key informant interviews representing the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and the tourism industry provided an overview of the issues and constraints surrounding indigenous tourism development in a Tasmanian context. From the research a number of themes developed: 1) accessibility, 2) infrastructure and natural resources, 3) land management, 4) community cohesion, 5) human resources, 6) skills, training and capacity building, 7) traditional skills and knowledge, 8) funding and costs, 9) cultural awareness and product, 10) authenticity and interpretation, and 11) seasonality and exogenously driven forces. There is a potential for the community to develop sustainable island tourism, and it could provide significant economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits and opportunities, however, a number of issues and constraints would have to be overcome. Recommendations were presented from the research to assist the community in developing sustainable island tourism which included: 1) capacity building and business support, 2) partnerships and joint ventures, 3) policies, processes and procedures, 4) planning, management and control mechanisms, and 5) environmental best practice.





School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


University of Tasmania

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