Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

State Manager, Parks and Nature-based Tourism, Department for Environment and Water

Chris emigrated to Australia from the UK in 1993 with an honours degree in Marine Geography and a passion for the outdoors. Chris spent his first 10 years working for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as the Director of Tourism and Recreation before moving to South Australia in 2004 to help set up a network of 19 marine parks. Chris is currently the State Manager for Parks and Nature-based Tourism at the Department for Environment and Water and national chair of the Tourism and Parks Agencies Forum.


Presentation:

Realising the Full Value of National Parks in South Australia

Tourism is a super-growth sector and economic priority for South Australia, with sights firmly set on an $8 billion visitor economy by 2020. Creating jobs and unlocking new economic activity in South Australia's regions is a key focus. This presentation will describe the 'eco' innovations in the government's commitment to sustainable tourism and regional development including:

Increasing the number of park rangers to ensure that national parks continue to provide a human interface with visitors and community and play a valuable role in the ongoing conservation and care for our wildlife and wild places.

Creating a new metropolitan national park, Glenthorne National Park, with a total of more than 1,500 hectares provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve and revitalise a significant portion of urban space as an environmental and recreational precinct.

Opening up six reservoirs for the first time to provide recreational fishing and other leisure activities including walking, cycling, kayaking and sailing.

Enabling ecologically sustainable development in national parks that are sensitive to the setting and will enable the private sector to provide high quality experiences to high value visitors with flow on benefits to the visitor economy.

Improving information and accessibility of national parks in order to enhance the opportunities and experiences for people with disabilities and diverse cultural backgrounds.


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What our Delegates are Saying

"I'm going to seek new ideas and learn from experience of other projects to constantly improve the way we manage our parks and open space . I'm looking forward to learning more around Parks & Open Space, Healthy Active Play and Trees and Gardens"

Jacqui, Manager City Reserves, City of Albany (WA)

"I love to listen, learn, share and spend time with likeminded and inspirational colleagues who are transforming the world park by park, facility by facility, program by program. I am looking forward to seeing Kia Dowell and Katie Sarah. I love being inspired and challenged to make a difference and grow as a leader and contributor to our industry".

Carly, Team Leader Recreation Planning, City of Casey (VIC)

"It is important to keep abreast of latest industry trends, best practice case studies and the valuable networking opportunities. I am looking forward to hearing from Jack Kardys regarding the evolving role of parks - driving health, happiness and economic prosperity".

Matt, Manager Active Communities, City of Holdfast Bay

"I can't wait to meet new people and catch up with old friends at PLA2019. I haven't been to Perth for many years and I'm looking forward to seeing the beautiful parks"

Neil, Parks Planner, Parks Victoria

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