February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, and what’s more, World Wetlands Day 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Treaty to protect significant wetland sites!

A wetland is an area of land where water covers the soil – even for only part of the year. They can be natural or artificial. The water in them can be still or flowing, fresh, salty or in-between (brackish). Wetlands are found in all kinds of places – along the coast, in the mountains, in dry inland areas, even underground. Many of them are connected by rivers.

With wetlands globally under increasing pressure from development, climate change and other threats, it’s more important than ever to recognise the value of these unique ecosystems, big and small. 

Wetland biodiversity contributes to ecosystem resilience, clean water, water supply, storm protection, carbon storage, health and well-being, recreation, tourism and jobs.

Ecotourism Australia (EA) have many members and certified tourism operators who incorporate wetlands into their tourism products in a sustainable way. Offering responsible and respectful wetland tourism experiences can have a positive impact on experiential learning and awareness for wetland biodiversity, natural processes, protection and regeneration.

Rich with abundance, wetlands are some of the best places to spot wildlife or go birdwatching. Advanced Ecotourism ECO certified Araucaria Ecotours operate from the Brisbane Region, QLD to deliver zoologist and naturalist led wildlife tours. Their Birdwatching day tour is tailored to their guests, visiting either Eagleby Wetlands or Lake Wivenhoe. You are guaranteed to see a variety of waterbirds with stops at forested areas for the occasional bush bird siting.

Araucaria Ecotours Spoonbill

Image: Araucaria Ecotours / Facebook

Ecotourism ECO certified, Hall of Fame operator Kingfisher Cruises, from the Murray Region, Victoria offers tours in the World-Heritage listed Barmah Wetlands. Hear fascinating commentary from a certified ECO guide about the hundreds of species of water birds, animals and native fish that have made the Barmah wetlands and forest their home.

Kingfisher Tours

Image: Kingfisher Tours / Facebook

Advanced Ecotourism ECO certified Cruise Maroochy Ecotours, from the Sunshine Coast, QLD offers eco cruises to the Maroochy wetlands sanctuary, showcasing awe inspiring displays of healthy and extensive mangrove forests. Cruise Maroochy respect the natural balance of the local estuarine system. Their Creek to Coast cruise exposes this balance and the damaging influence of local development and agriculture. This cruise is taken only during high tides to minimise the impact on the seabed.

Cruise Maroochy

Image: Cruise Maroochy/ Instagram

South to Tasmania, 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm run a sustainable inland farm and tourist attraction near Launceston. When taking a tour around 41 Degrees South, visitors can explore the elevated boardwalks over the wetlands and experience farming in a natural setting. Salmon are grown in fresh waters, which flow, gravity fed, into the salmon tanks and through natural and man-made wetlands. There is always something to see as changing seasons bring different birds and wetland wildlife, giving them a habitat to feed, breed, nest and rest.

41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm

Image: 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm / Facebook

Join an ECO certified tourism operator on a tour to learn more about our wonderful wetlands.

Celebrate World Wetlands Day on social media by including the hashtags #WorldWetlandsDay and #RespectRamsar

[Banner Image: Barmah National Park / Visit Melbourne]


Congratulations to Elysian Retreat for achieving ECO Certification at the Advanced Ecotourism level and Climate Action Business Certification for its luxury eco-retreat. These certifications recognise Elysian Retreat’s commitment and dedication to sustainable practices and climate change action.

Located in the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays, this family-owned retreat offers all-inclusive luxurious sustainable accommodation. The exclusively tailored experiences and secluded location in Long Island are ideal for those with busy lifestyles looking for a bit of calm and serenity. The all-inclusive package allows guests to taste a custom menu of specially catered and sustainably sourced local cuisine. To top it off, a personalised organic spa and a range of aquatic adventures for every individual are also available.

Whitsundays aerial

Whitsundays aerial – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

For those longing for privacy, the adult-only retreat has a maximum of 20 guests at a time policy and can also be hired on a sole-occupancy basis in the event you do not want to share this reef paradise.

Drift away in outdoor hammocks, find stillness in the zen garden, laze on the day beds or float in the gentle mineral resort pool.

The sustainability journey for Elysian Retreat starts right from the beginning at their supply chain. As part of the Elysian Sustainable Purchasing Policy, they carefully choose many of their suppliers based on their ethos and commitment to sustainability.

Villas aerial

Villas aerial – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

Following in the footsteps of their sister retreat Pumpkin Island, one of EA’s certified members and Australia’s first beyond carbon neutral island, Elysian Retreat is the Great Barrier Reef’s first resort to be 100 per cent powered by the sun’s energy. Thus offsetting 150% of their emissions and becoming carbon negative.

Ocean front villa

Ocean front villa – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

All the water on the island is filtered rainwater and different systems throughout the facilities ensure that as much water as possible is conserved. A modern wastewater treatment system allows for all the water to be reused. Other special environmental measures incorporated into their daily operations include a kitchen garden, minimised waste production through composting practices, biodegradable cleaning products, and minimising the use of plastic.

The environment is a key focus for Elysian Retreat who collaborates to rehabilitate damaged coral from the Great Barrier Reef. They have adopted a coral through the Reef Restoration Foundation’s Coral Crusaders program, which will enable for other damaged corals to regenerate. This recently created program has seen great success in coral growth planting new coral colonies on damaged reef.

Congratulations once again to Elysian Retreat for achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification and Climate Action Business Certification for their island secluded eco-retreat, and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!

To find out more about Elysian Retreat, visit their website or Facebook page.

[Banner image supplied by Elysian Retreat]


#SwissTourism4SDGs – New Category Launched

The Swiss Tourism Dialogue on the SDGs, an initiative supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, is now visible as a separate category on this platform. Under the hashtag #SwissTourism4SDGs, sustainable tourism activities of stakeholders in Swiss incoming and outgoing tourism are connected. This facilitates the exchange of knowledge and enables the […]


Debby Tours and Transfers has achieved ECO Certification at the Ecotourism level. The company aims to provide fun and joy to their passengers through unforgettable trips to beautiful places.

Some of the most popular tours offered by Debby Tours and Transfers includes the Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Tour, Philip Island Day Tour and Grampians Day Tour.

The Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Tour is a guided scenic drive along one of Australia’s most scenic coastlines. The small group tour includes a visit to the picturesque 12 Apostles.

On the Philip Island Day Tour, guests experience the famous Penguin Parade, and also have the opportunity to explore this beautiful island’s white beaches and unique wildlife.

Phillip 01

On the Grampians Day Tour, visitors explore the impressive sandstone mountain ranges of Grampians National Park and enjoy majestic waterfalls, dazzling spring wildflower displays and awe-inspiring mountain panoramas. The Grampians National Park is a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers. A beautiful place for scenic drives, bush walks, climbing, panoramic views and witnessing native animals such as Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koalas. The area is home to rich Aboriginal heritage with important rock art sites.

Debby Tours and Transfers has strong environmental and conservational ethics and strive to encourage similar values in their guests. In addition to pointing out areas of interest and wildlife, tour guides are trained to educate guests on the surrounding natural landscapes, local indigenous culture and heritage, local conservation efforts and environmental management strategies

The company’s ecotourism certification is testament to their dedication to managing operations in a way which protects and enhances the environment around them.


Debby Tours and Transfers offer six different ECO certified tours: 

  • Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles Day Tour
  • Phillip Island Day Tour 
  • Grampians Day Tour
  • Wilson’s Promontory National Park Tour 
  • Mornington Peninsula – Hot Springs & Wine Tasting
  • Mount Buller Snow Trip 

Congratulations once again to Debby Tours and Transfers for achieving ECO Ecotourism certification and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!

For more information about Debby Tours and Transfers visit their website or Facebook page.

[All images: Debby Tours and Transfers]