News - 10 November 2021

End of tourism & logging industry protocol indicates better recognition of forests as tourism assets.

Logging coupe in the Styx Valley. Image: Vica Bayley
  • Long-standing protocol frustrated efforts to highlight impacts of logging on tourism and by tourism operators to reject impacts of logging on their operations and visitors

  • Termination of protocol points towards a clear recognition of protected native forests as tourism assets

  • Pressure from nearly 200 Derby tourism operators, led by Blue Derby Wild, adds to long-held tourism operator misgivings that TICT has not properly advocated for their concerns about logging

The Wilderness Society Tasmania welcomes the termination by the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) of the Tourism - Forestry Protocol Agreement between it and Forestry Tasmania (trading as ‘Sustainable Timber Tasmania’.)

“Deforestation in lutruwita/Tasmania destroys more value than it creates and that includes sabotaging ‘Brand Tasmania’ and hijacking the experience of tourists who are shocked when they encounter trashed forests and logging fires,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania.

“In practice, the protocol meant that the native forest logging and tourism industries looked after each other, against the public interest, including that of tourism operators.

“The termination of this protocol points towards a stronger recognition of protected native forests as tourism assets. Forest walks, big tree tourism and beautiful forested landscapes are just some examples of the multiple ways forests are worth more to our society than logging them for a loss.

“The upsides for tourism, biodiversity, recreation, beauty, carbon and biodiversity are enriched by forests left standing rather than devalued by continued deforestation for an economic and ecological loss our island can ill afford.

“We also recognise that the TICT is acting, in this instance, not in the narrow interests of the logging industry but is seeking to address long-standing concerns from tourism operators and “their concerns about climate change, and the protection of our native forests” from deforestation. There are many Tasmanian tourism operators that are dependent on protected forests but, in the past, the TICT hasn’t properly represented their views.

“This termination comes less than a day after Premier Peter Gutwein told Parliament that he expected “coexistence of sustainable forestry and tourism” to “continue”.

“The future for lutruwita/Tasmania must be the transition away from deforestation to one of plantation forestry. This transition would be as good for tourism as it would be for our economy, ecology, society, carbon stocks and biodiversity.

“Tasmania is still well behind New Zealand, which transitioned out of native deforestation 20 years ago and now its protected forests and giant trees are prime tourism assets instead of being woodchipped. The Tasmanian Government needs transition to a plantation-based future, like Victoria and Western Australia have already announced,” said Mr Allen.

Contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323