Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Carol Redford

Founder, Astrotourism WA

Carol Redford

Abstract

Astrotourism Towns: using WA’s pristine dark night sky to generate a new future for regional tourism

A private and government sector partnership, including 15+ Local Governments across the Mid West and Wheatbelt, is harnessing WA’s world-class dark night sky as an asset for economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The Astrotourism Towns Project is creating a stargazing trail through WA’s regional communities with the aim to increase overnight visitation, grow jobs, businesses and the local tourism economy. In a world where the night sky is disappearing from view for more than 80% of the planet’s population, the partnership is facilitating the protection of the dark night sky from light pollution in order to protect the highly sought-after tourism asset and how we can look at tourism from a new angle.

At the same time an Aboriginal Astronomy Trail is developing new cultural experiences and enterprises through STEM engagement, art workshops, tour guide training and campfire stargazing/astronomy activities. The development of Aboriginal Astronomy storytellers and tourism resources contribute to the growth of Aboriginal Astrotourism enterprises, increasing employment opportunities within Aboriginal communities and across regional WA.

It’s all leading to an international event, in April 2023, when WA will be the best place in the world to see a rare Total Solar Eclipse visible from the Ningaloo coastline. This event will attract tens of thousands of extra visitors to WA and will bring world-wide media attention. Regional towns will capitalise on the global media spotlight generated by eclipse and Western Australia will consolidate itself as the world’s premier destination for stargazing and astronomy.

Biography

Carol Redford is the Founder of Astrotourism WA. She is collaborating with Local Government to develop the Astrotourism sector of WA’s Tourism Industry and increase overnight visitors to the regions. Together, the communities are striving to protect WA’s world-class dark night sky from artificial light pollution and brand WA the stargazing capital of the world.

Carol’s qualifications in marketing, experience in regional economic development and ownership of a public astronomical observatory have aligned to bring the right skill-set at a time when people around the globe seek connection with the environment. The sky is literally the limit!