Tracking the concept of sustainability in Australian tourism policy and planning documents

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Moyle, BD, McLennan, C-LJ, Ruhanen, L & Weiler, B 2014, 'Tracking the concept of sustainability in Australian tourism policy and planning documents', Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 22, no. 7, p. 1037-1051.

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In the current climate of intense turbulence, tourism must transform to a more sustainable development platform. Yet it remains unclear how the concept of sustainability is embedded at different levels of government policy and planning, and how this has evolved over time. This paper identifies the concept of sustainability as it is articulated in 339 Australian tourism strategic planning and policy documents published between 2000 and 2011. The paper examines the extent to which the concept of sustainable tourism is evident in the discourse of Australian tourism strategic planning documents at the national, state, regional and local levels, as well as the balance of the discourse in relation to sustainability objectives. The results show that the frequency of occurrence of sustainability as a concept has slightly increased in strategies over the past decade. At the same time, there has been a shift in the conceptualisation of sustainability, with thinking evolving from nature-based, social and triple bottom line concepts toward a focus on climate change, responsibility, adaption and transformation.

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