#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.

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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]


The following tips were presented by Director of Australian Luxury Escapes, Grant Charlesworth at the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in December 2020.

Due to COVID-19, the Eco and Luxury tourism sectors will be subject to significant change over the coming 12 months. Businesses should be focussed on their viability and profitability, with small changes key to capturing the unique opportunity that is on offer. Customers may be looking for more meaningful tourism experiences over the coming years, presenting an environment for small tour operators to thrive.

1. Upgrade your product offering to a more upmarket experience

This will fuel the ongoing demand for luxury, boutique experiences whilst creating potential for an additional revenue stream. Review your product offering and see what opportunities exist for upgrade, value add or collaboration. This enables you to charge more, cross promote with other suppliers/operators, and provide your guests with a richer experience.

Examples include:

  • Offering premium transfers to and from your tour or main product offering.
  • Collaborating with a local restaurant to provide lunch/meal services to package into your main product offering.

2. Review your distribution

Work out where your niche is and do some research into who can best assist you in distributing or selling your product. Price your rates accordingly and then target domestic or international travel wholesalers. Sometimes your margins may be less but there are big advantages involved in engaging with wholesalers and travel agents.


Photo: Cairns Adventure Group / Facebook

3. System Development

The number one system development never used is customer retention. There are so many simple and cost-effective ways in which you can engage your customers on an ongoing basis.

Unfortunately, most people spend the majority of their time chasing new customers and fail to look after their existing client base. If you are not looking after your clients someone else will be.

If you haven’t already, consider creating an engaging and relevant newsletter to send to your existing customer database. Facebook and Instagram are two proven platforms for engaging with existing and returning customers.

4. Customer Service

This really should be a no brainer but too many tour operators fail to spend the time or have the right attitude for premium customer service. We are in the service industry after all, so we are here to serve. Engaging with your clients meaningfully will improve their experience, promote customer retention, and increases your chances of upsell and word of mouth promotion.

The pandemic has created a lot of disruption in our sector, but with disruption comes opportunity! Potential customers are going to be looking at more meaningful experiences moving forward, and ecotourism operators are poised to deliver this. Now is the time to take action to fully capitalise on these opportunities.



Photo: Australian Luxury Escapes

Grant Charlesworth is Owner/Operator of Advanced Ecotourism certified Australian Luxury Escapes. Australian Luxury Escapes has been established for over 27 years, specialising in luxury small group and private touring throughout the whole of Australia. For more information visit their website, here


[Cover image courtesy of: Alice Springs Desert Park / Facebook]


Go Australia is a leading Italian tour operator specialised in organising trips to Oceania. 

With 20 years of experience, the Go Australia team confidently meet the needs of every type of Italian traveller.

Go Australia offers a diverse range of tours, including minitours, self-drive, luxury travel, cruises, honeymoons, group and individual travel.

Many of Go Australia’s trips devote attention to sustainable tourism and ecotourism. Go Australia collaborate with reliable partners and accommodation providers that align with their values in the protection of the environment.

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Photo: Go Australia / collage images sourced from Instagram

Go Australia work hard to focus on the customer, delivering unique and unforgettable travel experiences.

Go Australia is part of the Go World family, a tour operator group that covers all continents of the world.

A new page dedicated to sustainable tourism and ecotourism is currently posted on the Go Australia website. Tourism products are currently being loaded and updated on this page. From mid-January 2021, Go Australia will promote this landing page to consumers and trade via their communications and media platforms. 

If you are an interested in becoming a reliable partner, please contact [email protected] 

For more information, visit Go Australia’s Ecotourism Australia page, main website, or Facebook

[Header image: Go World.it]


2020 has proven a critical time for the tourism industry. With the massive disruption through the bushfires of 2019 followed by the universally devastating impact of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to come together, draw on the collective strengths to re-assess, reflect and recover.

Ecotourism Australia’s Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference, was held 1-3 December 2020 in Margaret River, Western Australia, one of Ecotourism Australia’s sixteen aspiring ECO Destinations. 

Now in its 28th year, the conference drew on the theme “Revolution, Driving Evolution” and opened up the opportunity to take stock, review and reassess the industry and its path forward, giving voice to a diversity of players who offer fresh and innovative industry perspectives. 

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Left to right: Rod Hillman (Chief Executive EA), Ian Earl (Shire President Augusta Margaret River Shire), Innes Larkin (Deputy Chair EA)

Due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Global Eco offered for the first time both live and virtual attendance options. Additionally, a total of five applicant ECO Destinations across the country played host to the live streamed program as a mini conference ‘satellite node’ for their region.

Over three days, more than 220 delegates representing all states of Australia and five different countries heard from leaders and innovators in ecotourism academia, industry and governance.


Photo: guide Josh Walker, a proud Nunagal man, shared his stories and deep connection to Quandamooka Country during the Minjerribah Aboriginal Culture Walk

Day 1 at Global Eco 2020 kicked off with delegates and attendees tuning in to the HEART, Margaret River from right across the country. Bundaberg, QLD’s satellite node hosted a “Launch into Ecotourism” breakfast as a networking opportunity for their attendees.

Delegates were inspired by Craig Wickham (Exceptional Kangaroo Island) and the audience took stock on ‘Surviving the Impacts of Natural Disasters and Pandemics’ with Amy Carter-James and Lee Miezis (Bushfire Recovery Victoria) and Sonia Beckwith (Live Ningaloo). Later in the day, insights were gained from the CEO Forum featuring Peter Sharp (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA), Lisa Shreeve (Busselton Jetty), Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Phillipa Harrison (Tourism Australia).

Day 2 of the conference saw continued activity in the satellite nodes on the Central Coast (NSW), Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD), Bundaberg (QLD) and Townsville (QLD). Coffs Coast joined in, streaming Day 2 from the C.ex Coffs International Stadium.

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Photo: Delegates at the Coffs Coast satellite node, C.ex Coffs Harbour Intl. Stadium

The morning kicked off with two morning parallel plenary sessions: ‘Ecotourism Post COVID-19’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism.

After lunch came the ‘Inspire’ keynote, delivered by Gary Muir (WOW Wilderness Ecocruises). Gary Muir was recognised as an Eco-guide in 1998 when the Global Eco Conference was last held in Margaret River. Now, 22 years later, he has built an incredible career, having delivered his special brand of environmental interpretation to thousands of people as an ecotourism operator and educator.

Innes Larkin (Mt Barney Lodge), Rod Quartermain (Tina Smitherman Consultants) and Dr Erika Jacobson (Edgewalkers) spoke in the ‘Forum of Revolutionary Ideas’.

The last session of the day focussed on ‘New Alliances, New Paths’ and featured Professor Ross Dowling AM (Edith Cowan University) Professor Brent Ritchie (The University of Queensland) and Louise Cashmore (Origins Market).

To top it off, conference delegates in Western Australia enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Voyager Estate in the Margaret River region, and attendees of the Coffs Coast satellite node finished the day with industry networking drinks.

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Photo: Delegates enjoying dinner at Voyager Estate

Day 3 began with two morning parallel plenary streams ‘Evolving Ecotourism and ECO Destinations’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism. Additionally, the attendees of the Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD) satellite node experienced an insightful cultural tour of Goompi (Dunwich).

The afternoon session focussed on Indigenous Ecotourism and featured Cameron Costello (Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation), Rosie Sandover and Rebecca Sampi (Kingfisher Tours); and Robert Taylor (WAITOC).

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Left to right: Rosie Sandover and Rebecca Sampi (Kingfisher Tours)

Anna Pollock presented virtually from the United Kingdom providing the third and final of our ‘Inspire’ keynotes. Anna is known around the world for her 40+ years’ work in sustainable tourism and her Conscious Travel movement. At Global Eco, she spoke about regenerative tourism.

Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Dermot O’Gorman (WWF-Australia) discussed the topic of ‘Evolving Ecotourism’ in the last keynote session before the conference close.

To view the presentations given at this years’ Global Eco Conference, click here.

Ecotourism Australia gratefully acknowledges the contributions from Major Host Sponsors; Tourism Western Australia and the Government of Western Australia, Host Sponsors; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, South West Development Commission, Destination Partners Business Events Perth and Margaret River HEART.