MEDIA RELEASE | The original sustainability innovators: 40% of Ecotourism Australia Members certified 10+ years
Whilst the general public – and the tourism industry – are beginning to wake up to the need for more sustainable business models and consumption patterns, Australia’s ecotourism industry has long been ahead of the game.
Driven by passionate tourism operators for whom sustainability has always been front and centre, Australia’s certified ecotourism operators have been taking action on climate change, preserving culture and traditions, contributing to conservation and benefitting their local communities from the very beginning.
Today, 40% of tourism operators certified through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program are recognised as Green Travel Leaders, meaning they have held certification for 10 years or longer. Among these are 26 who have been certified for at least 20 years.
Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman says this is an indication that being certified does not just give you credibility, set your business apart from competitors and allow you to become part of a supportive community of likeminded operators; it’s also a sign that a focus on sustainability contributes to the longevity of your business.
“Forty percent of our members have been certified for 10 years or longer – including 26 who have been with us for 20 years! This is a clear indication that doing the right thing by the planet and its inhabitants is also doing the right thing for your business.”
Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program measures not just a tourism operator’s interaction with their natural environment, but also:
- Business management and operational planning
- Responsible marketing
- Customer satisfaction
- Environmental management
- Interpretation and education
- Contribution to conservation
- Working with local communities
- Environmental respect and sensitivity.
The 26 20-year operators will be inducted into the Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame during the official dinner of the Global Eco Conference 2019, to be held at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park on Tuesday, 3 December 2019.
For questions and comments, please contact:
Rod Hillman – CEO
0427 279 414
Only 200km from the mainland of Australia, Northern Tasmania is a treasure trove of natural wonders with stunning landscapes, unique animals and plants and a rich diversity of sea life.
Home to the world’s second largest temperate rainforest – the Tarkine, spectacular dolerite mountains, wild river and cave systems and a rugged coastline with long sandy beaches and grassy woodlands, there is so much to discover in this magnificent region!
With over 477,000 hectares of Tarkine wilderness to explore and such a vast array of experiences available (suitable for all ages and levels of fitness – on land and in the water), why not let one of our remarkable certified operators take the stress out of your next trip on the wild – or mild – side, by making sure you don’t miss out on anything!
Photo Credit: Tasmanian Walking Company
Our operators know the region like the back of their hand and will have you walking, living and breathing in all the natural beauty and wonder of the Tasmanian wilderness before you can say platypus. They offer a wide variety of unique experiences to suit everybody’s needs, including walking and floating through canyons, short and easy walks through temperate rainforests, multi-day trekking adventures along the world-famous Overland Track, and mountain biking down the iconic Cradle Mountain.
So, whether you want to experience it all with your own two feet (bushwalking, hiking, trekking, tramping (whichever you like to call it!)), explore it on two wheels (enjoying everything from cross country and downhill trails, to relaxing rides along quiet country roads with scenic coastal views) or see it from a boat (to enjoy the vast river network that offers everything from white water thrills to calm, peaceful rides), we’ve got plenty of operators ready to take you on an unforgettable journey.
And just for your convenience, we’ve listed them all below to help get your holiday ball rolling!
Photo Credit: Tarkine Trails
Tarkine Trails offer small group walking experiences into the wilds of the takayna/Tarkine wilderness of Tasmania. Specialising in quality, deep immersion wilderness experiences that showcase the true beauty and power of a wilderness landscape, their expeditions are between four and six days long.
Photo Credit: Tasmanian Walking Company
Tasmanian Walking Company offer fully guided walking experiences that will immerse you in some of the most pristine environments Tasmania has to offer – including the incredible Cradle Mountain. Tasmanian Walking Company’s goal is to provide an outstanding opportunity for visitors to step out of everyday life into nature and be revitalised, and to experience a fresh, profound perspective of humanity, the environment and the possibilities they embody.
Photo Credit: Tasmanian Expeditions
Tasmanian Expeditions offer active, responsible, memorable and experience-rich trips exploring the remote, rugged and iconic parts of Tasmania. They’ll give you opportunities to challenge yourself in nature and tick off some bucket list-worthy destinations. Meanwhile, you’ll bypass some of the main Tasmanian tourist attractions in favour of exploring Tasmania’s more remote corners, giving you access to places you may never have discovered on your own.
Cradle Mountain Canyons is a small outdoor adventure company owned and operated by Tasmanians with a passion for the great outdoors.Experienced and qualified guides will lead you through the stunning canyons found only a stone’s throw away from Cradle Mountain. You can choose between an action-packed day of waterfall jumps and slides in the Dove Canyon or a much easier introduction to the world of canyoning in the Lost World Canyon.
Photo Credit: Overland Track
The Overland Track is a true wilderness walk which travels through spectacular mountain scenery, near beautiful waterfalls, through a variety of fascinating ecosystems and close to Tasmania s highest mountain, before finishing at Australia’s deepest lake, Lake St Clair.
Photo Credit: Tarkine Wilderness Lodge
If you’re looking for a stunning place to lay your head after all of that adventure, check out Tarkine Wilderness Lodge. Nestled on 200 acres of privately-owned land, this lodge offers guests complete seclusion from the outside world and guarantees you will fall in love with and lose yourself in the serenity that is the Tarkine. Relax and enjoy the exclusive use of the lodge and its facilities, including three luxurious suites with private bathroom facilities and beautiful vistas of the surrounding rainforest. You can also let their experienced guides take you on a breathtaking and informative journey through the ancient 60-million-year-old forest.
Photo Credit: 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not check out 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm? Thisfarm is a family-run sustainable inland farm and unique tourist attraction located in the heart of Tasmania’s North. The farm grows Atlantic salmon and ginseng varieties in natural conditions and is open seven days a week for free tastings and self-guided tours of the farm and wetlands, allowing you to wander past the freshwater salmon ponds, ginseng nursery, along a boardwalk through wetlands and to a viewing area of Montana Cascades.
If you’re keen to check out the rest of the state, make sure you visit our Green Travel Guide and search for ‘Tasmania’ for more great eco experiences, including:
Owned and directed by Janelle and Adam Marr, Step Beyond Strategy is a values-based strategy consultancy that helps its clients realise their business’ potential. Offering strategic advisory services andexecution support services across a range of sectors, Step Beyond Strategy focuses on understanding future landscapes and leveraging emerging opportunities – turning them into strong, functional and practical plans that deliver genuine environmental, social and financially sustainable outcomes.
Photo: Janelle and Adam Marr / Step Beyond Strategy Facebook
”We’re concentrating on meaningful projects that will have real impact and give back to community, society and organisations. Through futures thinking, we have the opportunity to create the future we want for our business, our community and future generations.” says Janelle Marr.
On top of the services they provide, Janelle and Adam have made some incredible social contributions over the years, getting involved with pro-bono sustainability projects, directorships and committee representation across a range of sectors and assisting with industry and community mentor programs. They are also very conscientious when it comes to finding ways to reduce their environmental footprint. So far, they have successfully implemented a water and material reuse and recycling program, they power their business with 100% renewable electricity and use electric bikes and hybrid vehicles. Through biodiversity and native tree planting offsets, Step Beyond Strategy has become 100% carbon neutral.
We are happy to welcome Step Beyond Strategy to the Ecotourism Australia Business Community.
To find out more about Step Beyond Strategy, visit out the business’ website here.
Ecotourism Australia’s members have elected three new directors and three returning directors to the Ecotourism Australia board, as announced during today’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Brisbane and streamed nationally via teleconference. The board has also elected a new deputy chair.
As per Ecotourism Australia’s Constitution, five out of ten directors are required to stand down each year. This year, an additional vacancy meant that six board positions were up for election by Ecotourism Australia’s 500 members.
Newly elected to the board were Noreen Breakey (The University of Queensland; Individual Member), Michael Collins (CRC Consulting; Individual Member) and Rosie Sandover (Kingfisher Tours, Certified Operator).
Together with returning directors Claire Ellis (current chair), Rick Murray (retiring deputy chair) and Wendy Hills, these directors join Alysia Brandenburg, Peter Cochrane, Peter Johnson and Innes Larkin to form Ecotourism Australia’s board of directors for the next twelve months.
Following the AGM, the board elected Claire Ellis as its ongoing chair and Innes Larkin as deputy. Claire Ellis welcomed the new directors and noted that much lies in store for the organisation in the new year.
“The past year has been another tremendous year for our members. We have celebrated our first 20-year Hall of Fame memberships; nearly 25% of all winners at the Australian Tourism Awards were Ecotourism Australia members; more than 20% of all sellers at the Australian Tourism Exchange displayed their ECO certified branding and the significant interest by destinations to become part of the Ecotourism Australia community has been exciting.
“Next year, our focus continues to be on bringing benefits to our members and creating real outcomes through ecotourism. Many exciting opportunities await!”
New Australia’s South West Sustainable Tourism Observatory joins the UNWTO Observatory NETWORK (INSTO)
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing cultural holiday or something more adventurous, the Northern Territory’s Katherine region is a traveller’s dream destination. Full of breathtaking gorges, misty waterfalls, thermal springs, sparkling rapids and monsoon forests, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and so many different ways do it.
Photo Credit: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu
One of the best parts of the Katherine region is that most of its natural attractions are located just on the outskirts of town. So, it’s incredibly easy for visitors to find their way around and immerse themselves in the history, rugged beauty and culture of this majestic region. And just to make things even easier, there are some pretty amazing ecotourism businesses in the area who will help make your experiences as fun, unique and unforgettable as possible.
If laid-back is what you’re after, why not hop on a cruise and take in the serenity and intimacy of the Katherine and Daly Rivers – observing the crocodiles, turtles and other wildlife that inhabit the region’s river environments? If you’re looking for something a little bolder, jump in a canoe and get up close and personal to the mesmerising Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.
Perhaps you’re looking to explore the cultural and natural landscapes of the Nitmiluk and Kakadu National Parks in a little more detail. How about joining one of our operators on a guided tour or hike? Not only are these an incredible opportunity to take in the region’s spectacular scenery – as you’ll be walking over rock plateaus, through woodlands and camping in areas where very few people have camped before – but they’re also a great way to learn about the fascinating history of region, its local wildlife, traditional bushfoods and the Aboriginal people’s special ancestral connection to this country.
Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? Check out the list at the end of this article for all of our ECO certified experiences in this majestic region or read on if you’d like a little more inspiration.
Photo Credit: Gecko Canoeing and Trekking
Gecko Canoeing and Trekking
Enjoy sleeping under a blanket of stars and waking up to a chorus of birds (and a hot cup of coffee)? With Gecko Canoeing and Trekking, you’ll get to experience the Katherine River, Nitmiluk Gorge and Kakadu National Park at their best, with comfortable ‘downstream’ touring, incredible wildlife ‘close ups’ and some really wild walks all on offer. This passionate team runs single or multi-day river tours and trekking adventures. To find out more about their tours and how to book, check out their website now – and get even more inspired by their fantastic video gallery!
Photo Credit: Nitmiluk Tours
Nitmiluk Tours offer a great variety of experiences, including cultural safari tours, gorge cruises, canoeing trips and helicopter flights that allow visitors to experience all the natural beauty, vastness and historical treasures of the Nitmiluk region. They’ve also got accommodation in the form of caravan and camping sites and even chalets – perfect for those wanting to settle in for a couple of nights and kick back after their daily adventures. So, if you’re looking for an authentic and unforgettable holiday experience, head on over to their website for more information on all their Australian Outback Tours.
Photo Credit: Cicada Lodge
If you’re a sophisticated traveller looking for an authentic Indigenous and natural Australian experience of a lifetime in the heart of northern Australia’s ‘Timeless North’, you can’t go past Cicada Lodge: a sanctuary of elegant comfort, just 29kms from the historic township of Katherine. The lodge boasts a level of excellence in accommodation, service and dining and provides training programs and employment to the local Jawoyn people, safeguarding and ensuring their future and celebrating their culture. For more information on the rooms, exclusive tours, services and amenities on offer, check out their website – and be sure to check out all their exclusive accommodation packages.
Photo Credit: Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat
Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat
Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat offers an outback experience for adventurous travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the Northern Territory’s’ Top End Bush. Only a short distance away from your camp, under a thousand stars, there’s an abundance of wildlife and natural habitats just waiting to be discovered! With guided bush walking, bird watching and boat tours available as part of your wilderness experience, you can do your best to spot them all. And for all those anglers out there, there’s barramundi just waiting to be caught from the river bank. So, don’t miss out on the sights, sounds and aromas of the top end Northern Territory, check out their website for more information on how to book your next stay.
Photo Credit: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu
Cooinda Lodge Kakadu
Cooinda Lodge Kakadu’s village style accommodation is located beneath a canopy of trees beside Yellow Water Billabong, where crocodiles and birds are seen on the flood plain amongst paperbark, pandanus and fresh water mangroves. Within its oasis-style atmosphere, Cooinda Lodge offers an inviting shaded swimming pool, bistro-style dining, bars, a petrol station and a store that offers locally-made crafts as well a wide range of essentials for touring. Click here to find out more about the newly refurbished rooms available and fantastic facilities on offer at Cooinda Lodge.
Photo Credit: Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu
Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu
If you’re looking to get out and explore the area from a unique perspective, Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu will take you on an exclusive tour of a rarely seen area of Kakadu. Learn about the fascinating history of buffalo hunting and take a walk around the Gabarlgu Billabong and South Alligator mangrove forest to discover more about the local wildlife, traditional bushfoods and our special ancestral connection to this country. For more information on all their tours and additional services on offer, follow this link to the Ayal Aboriginal Tours website, and start planning your next trip now.
A note of caution: remember the seasons!
While you’re planning your trip to the Katherine region, it’s important to note that there is very distinct seasonal diversity. Both the peak of its dramatic wet season and the most comfortable moments of its sunny dry season transform the region from one holiday oasis to another, providing two utterly unique adventures. So, you might actually want to plan two trips…
If you’ve only got one shot, then nothing beats the shoulder season, from August through to September (the end of the dry season). You’ll get the best of the dry season’s blue skies, but with smaller crowds, making it the best time to comfortably explore the region’s many hidden gems.
For more information on all our certified operators in the area, click on the following link to check out our Green Travel Guide and search for either of the following ‘Katherine’ or ‘Northern Territory’.
And don’t forget to check out some of our Top End and Darwin-based operators:
MEDIA RELEASE: Douglas Shire and Mount Hotham Make Prestigious 2019 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations List
Two destinations currently progressing through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification program have been awarded a place in the prestigious 2019 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, announced yesterday in Croatia.
The list, now in its 5th iteration, features destinations from 28 other countries, including the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and Slovenia.
Douglas Shire (Queensland), which also featured in last year’s Top 100 list together with Australia’s Red Centre, is joined this year by Mt Hotham (Victoria), which began its ECO Destination Certification journey only a few short months ago.
Being recognised among other world leading destinations for their sustainability efforts – all nominating destinations had to provide extensive evidence and be judged by an international team of experts – is something which both Douglas Shire and Mt Hotham see as extremely valuable:
“Being named in the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 has been very positive experience for the Douglas Shire and has enhanced the destination’s sustainability credentials,” said Douglas Shire Deputy Mayor Abigail Noli.
Mt Hotham’s Alpine Resort Management Board, which manages a very sensitive ecosystem, noted that sustainability and environmental issues are important considerations for their guests in choosing which destinations they visit.
“This success demonstrates that we are taking concrete steps to improve the management of our destination, and that we are a leader amongst our peers and competitors in this space,” Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board CEO, Jon Hutchins said.
With the demand for sustainable travel experiences growing worldwide, Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman said that it’s important for destinations claiming to be ‘green’ to be able to back up their claims:
“Our most recent membership survey showed that 73% of our certified tourism operators feel that there is a growing consumer demand for certified, sustainable travel experiences. For a visitor to enjoy a truly sustainable holiday, the entire destination needs to be involved, and leadership is needed at the highest level.
That’s why we’re working closely with Douglas Shire Council and Mount Hotham – among other destinations – to develop Australia’s leading ECO Certified destinations, paving the way for Australia to be recognised as a global leader in fostering responsible, sustainable tourism industry development that is backed up by strong action and a whole-of-destination approach.”
- For more information about the Sustainable Destinations Top 100, visit www.SustainableTop100.org.
- For more information about Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification, visit www.ecotourism.org.au/our-certification-programs/eco-destination-certification/