Queensland National Parks

Tourism and Events Queensland

An economically important tourism resource ...

The protected area estate in Queensland is an important environmental, social and economic resource.

National parks are important environmental resources, giving protection to the flora, fauna and ecosystems that underpin a healthy environment for us all to live in and pass on to future generations. National parks not only play a vital role in the environment but also contribute social, cultural and economic value to our society.

The University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science undertook research into the economic value provided by national parks to the Queensland economy in 2018. This research focused on understanding the economic value of Queensland’s national parks as a tourism and recreation asset in terms of benefits to the Queensland economy.


Authors: Sally Driml, Richard Brown and Claudia Moreno Silva.

Executive Summary

National parks contribute a range of environmental, social, cultural and economic values to our society. This report has a focus on understanding the economic value of Queensland national parks as a tourism and recreation asset in terms of:

(i) benefits to the Queensland economy through spending by tourists who visit national parks and their resulting contribution to Gross Value Added and employment;

(ii) direct use benefits to visitors enjoying national parks; and

(iii) net benefits to theQueensland economy, accounting for costs of visitor management

Excerpt from the Introduction

Excerpt from the Introduction

This study focusses on estimating the economic value of tourism and recreation use of Queensland’s national parks. Understanding this economic value is important for several reasons. As national parks are publicly owned and generally have no, or low access prices, their economic value is not revealed in the market. So, the importance of national parks as economic assets can be overlooked unless deliberate economic valuation is undertaken and reported. Decisions about levels of human use or
the best uses of natural environments should be informed by understanding of their economic, social and environmental significance. Decisions on allocating public financial resources for management to maintain ecosystem services and their values should also be informed on such understanding. Monitoring of increases or decreases in economic value over time will provide important information for managers about the ‘economic health’ of the resource.

The overall purpose of this study is therefore to provide information for the managers of Queensland’s national parks for input into their decision-making processes for planning and managing national parks.

The Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science has produced a very accessible ‘snapshot’ of the research results … summarising the following topics:

  • How many people visit national parks?
  • How important are national parks in attracting visitors?
  • How much do national park visitors spend daily?
  • How much do all national park visitors spend in Queensland?
  • What is the contribution of this spending to the Queensland economy?
  • What’s the additional ‘non-market’ value of national parks to visitors?
  • What is the return on investment in visitor management in Queensland’s national parks?

Download the snapshot:

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