ERA, with Cultural Heritage Management Australia, SGS Economics and Planning, and Noa Group, was engaged in late 2018 by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment to assist in preparing a tourism master plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

The TWWHA is one of the world’s largest temperate wilderness areas and a significant and precious cultural landscape for Tasmanian Aboriginal people who have had an ongoing connection to land, sea and sky across the area for at least 35,000 years.

The TWWHA covers almost a fifth of Tasmania’s land mass. Occupying more than 1.58 million hectares, it is one of the largest temperate natural areas in the Southern Hemisphere. It meets seven out of ten criteria for World Heritage listing. Only one other place on Earth – China’s Mount Taishan – meets that many criteria.

The Tourism Master Plan is being prepared as a requirement of the TWWHA Management Plan 2016. The Tourism Master Plan shares the overarching vision statement articulated in the Management Plan “To identify, protect, conserve, present and, if appropriate, to rehabilitate the World Heritage, National Heritage and other natural and cultural values of the TWWHA and to transmit that heritage to future generations in as good or better condition than at present.”

ERA began the process of developing the Tourism Master Plan with an extensive initial engagement program that involved not only workshops, symposiums and submissions with the broader Tasmanian community and key stakeholders, but a specifically designed program to engage with local Tasmanian Aboriginal groups. Cultural Heritage Management Australia, with its team of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, engaged through a series of one-on-one forums through the first half of 2019. The outcomes of the initial engagement program, along with the ongoing engagement with the Aboriginal Heritage Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, and a specifically established Advisory Committee, have been integral to the development of what is now the draft Tourism Master Plan.

The Tourism Master Plan requires consideration by the Tasmanian Government, the Australian Government and the World Heritage Committee. Delivery of high-quality presentation of the TWWHA that allows visitors to experience its values and to appreciate their global significance without impacting those values is a key component, not only of the ongoing protection and management of the TWWHA, but of achieving strength in the visitor economy.

ERA has now prepared the Draft Tourism Master Plan for the Department, and it is now on an extended public comment period until May 2020. After this comment period, ERA will continue to work with the Department to review and finalise the Tourism Master Plan for final approval.