Long-distance walking tracks: offering regional tourism in the slow lane.

Shelley Burgin, Nigel Hardiman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Nature-based destination tourism has witnessed substantial growth in recent years, particularly in Regional Areas. This type of tourism is for people who do not want to merely passively view scenic landscape but to actively immerse themselves within it, for example by undertaking long-distance walks. Many tourism agencies and local governments have responded to such demand by developing, branding and promoting ‘walking products’; overseas examples include the UK’s Pennine Way, the USA’s Appalachian Trail, Peru’s Inca Trail and New Zealand’s Milford Track. In Australia, enthusiasts can tackle the Overland Track and South Coast Track (Tasmania), Larapinta Trail and Jatbula Trail (Northern Territory) and Thorsborne Trail (Queensland), among others. Such products offer benefits to visitors in terms of healthy exercise undertaken in stunning scenery, along with enhanced awareness and appreciation of the natural environment. Local governments, commercial tourism operators and land conservation agencies within whose purview such walks are located, derive economic benefits in terms of increased employment and/or income with minimal outlay in the development of the walking tracks. In this paper we review trends in consumer behaviour driving demand for such products; describe a proposal for a new long distance walking track in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area in New South Wales; and consider potential regional economic benefits arising from such products.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australian Regional Development Conference, August 26-28, 2015, Albury, Australia
PublisherAssociation for Sustainability in Business Inc.
ISBN (Print)978-1-922232-32-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAustralian Regional Development Conference 2015 - Albury, Australia
Duration: 26 Aug 201528 Aug 2015


ConferenceAustralian Regional Development Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleARDC
Internet address


  • long-distance walks
  • bush recreation
  • enhancement of regional economy
  • camping holiday
  • multi-day hiking


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