Jenolan Caves

Ecotourism the Focus of International Conference

November 19, 2014

Conference of the International Show Caves Association at Jenolan Caves House, in the main function room.

Recently, Jenolan Caves hosted 98 delegates for the International Show Caves Association 7th Congress. Delegates came from the US, UK, Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Slovenia, Lebanon, China, Malaysia, Korea, South Africa, NZ, Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium, Bermuda and Australia.

The conference was held in Caves House.  It was the first time that this important annual event has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Regardless of location, when a cave system, or other natural wonder, opens to the public, similar challenges arise – how to protect its features and delicate ecosystems while continuing as a profitable tourist attraction and educational venue.

Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains, hosted the International Show Caves Association Conference.

Why was this conference important? We love to visit natural attractions, soaking up the awe-inspiring sights and sounds, like dry sponges. We feel rejuvenated and grounded, small in the presence of nature’s awesome forces. But behind the scenes, considerable money, effort and initiative goes into discovering ways to conserve their natural state, while allowing them to remain open to the public.

The main theme of the conference was "The Challenge of Sustainably Showing Caves in the 21st Century”. Delegates examined the issues that confront the managers of natural tourist attractions in an age of technology. Issues involve conservation, technology for tourism and education, social media to promote and educate and conserving historical and cultural heritage.

Topics included “Interpretation of Natural Attractions in the Digital Age”, which explored how modern technology bridges language gaps, offering immersive and interactive experiences to remote audiences. “Utilising Interactive Digital Media to Promote, Conserve, Interpret and Present Show Caves” outlined techniques of using social media to promote and interpret natural tourist attractions. “Digital Media: A Modern Conundrum in an Ancient Landscape” explored the increasing use of digital recording devices at tourist attractions – a surprisingly contentious subject.

ISCA delegates have a go at Adventure Caving while at Jenolan Caves.

Australia’s Jenolan Caves, set in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, are in the forefront of technology, which has been developed to present, preserve and promote their spectacular subterranean world. In 2006, Australia's leading scientific organisation, the CSIRO, confirmed that Jenolan Caves are the oldest known caves in the world, 340 million years old. Jenolan uses technology to protect the ancient caves for future generations, setting a benchmark from which other cave systems can learn.

Conference delegates met and stayed in historic Jenolan Caves House, which was built in 1898.

Dan Cove, Manager Cave Operations, said, “Delegates told me it was the best Congress that they had attended, and that every aspect of Jenolan, from the state of the caves and grounds, the tour guiding, to the standard of service in Caves House and the truly wonderful food on offer all week, completely exceeded all expectations." 







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