Demand for ‘off-road’ experiences in desert Australia is growing. But very little is known about how desert people can translate the potential of this market into sustainable livelihoods. Desert people want to know how to balance the benefits and consequences of increasing visitor numbers to remote, and to culturally and environmentally sensitive places.
This first stage of the project will develop an understanding of 4WD tourism markets, their motivations, trip preferences and behaviour. A geographic information system called Visualising Relatively Unpredictable Movement (VRUM™) is being developed to map out the flows of 4WD travellers across desert Australia and describe the interactions between visitors, settlements, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources. The framework will be immediately useful for identifying where such interactions may occur and facilitating community, business and government engagement in managed 4WD tourism development. The framework will lead to the development of knowledge products to address specific management issues.
These may include product development guides for communities, ‘safe travel’ protocols for visitors and settlements, impact assessment and forecasting models, and education and training resources which will be addressed in stage 2.
You can also have a look at what we’re doing with Google Maps in the project.