UWA Albany Master of Ecotourism

The Great Southern region of Western Australia
is culturally rich and environmentally diverse; boasting a sensational coastline and brimming
with outdoor recreational opportunities. With all this and more on its doorstep, UWA’s Albany
Campus presents a course that is both relevant to its surroundings and of great value for
any person looking to participate in the growing Ecotourism Industry: the Master of Ecotourism. Dr Peter Speldewinde: “Eco Tourism is a growing
industry; and even just down here in Albany, where we’re teaching the course, there are
a lot of ecotourism opportunities which people haven’t taken up…” “I enjoy throwing people off cliffs…! I
used to work in the ecotourism industry doing abseiling and climbing instruction on the
cliffs out here. From that experience, I just enjoyed taking people out and helping them
experience the natural environment…and I think that’s the kick I get out of this. It’s
a way of helping people get out there and do stuff.” Prof. Barbara Cook: “One of the things you
could do is start your own business. The other thing you could do is to join an already existing
ecotourism enterprise…so…you would be a very valuable employee, because you’d be
very well trained in all aspects of running ecotourism enterprises. The other big employer
of people with an ecotourism background would be your national parks.” “The Master of Ecotourism is a one and a half
to two year degree that can be studied full- time, or part-time at the University of Western
Australia’s Albany Campus.” Prof. Barbara Cook: “There are two groups
of units. There are some core units that you have to do, and those core units cover things
like core Principles of Ecotourism, Ecotourism in Practice, Interpretation, and Sports and
Recreation Management…those sorts of units, which all the students will have to do. And
then there’s a second group of units which are optional and they have to choose a number
from that group.” Dr Peter Speldewinde: “The people doing the
course will actually get a lot of contact with people who are actually running their
own eco tourism businesses, and I think that’s one of the strengths of the degree is…that
exposure to people who are actually doing it. It’s all very well to go and delve into
books and learn all the academic side, but you really need to talk to the people who
are actually running these businesses and learn from them. And that’s the idea behind
the course. It’s very heavily looking at people who are running their own businesses; getting
them in and going out there and talking to them, and seeing what they’re doing.” “With pristine sandy beaches, incredible biodiversity
and rich, fertile soils, there is an abundance of opportunity in Nature, here in the Great
Southern. Albany also offers a vibrant cultural community and all the services and amenities
you’d expect in a regional City hub: markets full of fresh produce, lively cafes, and plenty
of opportunity for retail therapy: it’s an urban experience on Nature’s doorstep.” Prof. Barbara Cook: “I think one of the things
that people might not realise is that Albany actually sits in one of the global biodiversity
hotspots. So if you think about it…if you’re wanting to learn something about ecotourism,
which is really basing tourism around natural resources…you know, plants and animals and
other features of the natural environment, you couldn’t actually ask for a better place
to come to, to actually learn your trade.”

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