Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Hugo Bekle


Ecotourism has quickly become one of the most influential and prominent terms used within the tourism industry today. With its many obscure definitions ecotourism has also been used to support a great number of unsustainable tourist developments. This study examined whether ecotourism had the ability to ensure ecological and financial sustainability through increased public exposure and appreciation to an ecologically sensitive area. One place in which this notion is being put to the test is in Crystal Cave, a popular tourist destination inside Yanchep National Park, 50 kilometres north of Perth. This cave is named after the beautiful reflections off the groundwater pool within the Cave. However, tourist numbers have dropped in recent years due to the diminished aesthetical appeal of this cave as a result of the lowering of the groundwater pool. More importantly still has been the discovery of a new amphipod life form living within the groundwater pool of Crystal Cave. An intense effort is now being made by government agencies to save the species by artificially rejuvenating the pool within the Cave until its original levels can be restored through water conservation measures. Instead of excluding tourists from this environmentally sensitive area during the project, an ecotourist based model has been developed to increase tourist numbers, and therefore revenue, in order to subsidise a majority of the project. If properly managed, this ecotourist based management model has the ability to provide and exceptional example of an ecologically and financially sustainable project payed for by increased public exposure to an environmentally sensitive area.