MEDIA RELEASE: NEW ECOTOURISM HALL OF FAME ENTRANTS SHOW CERTIFICATION IS A FRAMEWORK FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS

As Ecotourism Australia celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, four of Australia’s premier nature-based tourism operators celebrate their entry into the organisation’s Hall of Fame for being certified for 20 years.

The awards come at a time when state and international borders are set to reopen, allowing freer movement of fully vaccinated – and in many cases more sustainably minded – travellers.

New Hall of Fame entrants are Australian Luxury Escapes (NSW), Great Adventures – Green Island Resort (QLD), Moonraker Dolphin Swims (VIC) and Phillip Island Nature Parks (VIC).

Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman said this showed both resilience and a dedication to continuous innovation and business development:

“The feedback we consistently get from our members is that their certification is a business development tool, equipping them to establish good business practices and enabling them to be better prepared for events and crises that could impact their business,” he said.

For new Hall of Fame entrants, meeting this milestone signifies their contribution to making the ecotourism industry what it is today and solidifies their position in the industry as its most enduring ecotourism innovators.

“Nature Parks is proud to be ECO certified, as it’s one way we can demonstrate our commitment to conservation and nature-based tourism to our visitors,” said Kate Adams, Visitor Experience Manager of Phillip Island Nature Parks.

Operators entering the Hall of Fame will be awarded special plaques commemorating their achievement, just as 37 businesses before them have been since the Hall of Fame was launched at the Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference in 2018.

Twenty-six other certified operators also be celebrating this year, having achieved the milestone of 10 years of certification. These operators are called Green Travel Leaders – a title that has been awarded to 43% of Ecotourism Australia certified operators since 2006.

This year, new Green Travel Leaders came from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

Continuing to explore Australia’s vast and multifaceted backyard is one of the many steps people can take to help support the recovery of the nation’s tourism industry.

By looking for the Hall of Fame icon and Green Travel Leader logo on Ecotourism Australia’s Green Travel Guide, Australians can be sure they are supporting environmentally responsible tourism operations who have at least a decade of experience to showcase.

–END–

Contact: Lina Cronin, Communications Manager – 07 3256 6777 / [email protected]


 

New Hall of Fame members – 2021

NSW
Australian Luxury Escapes

QLD
Great Adventures – Green Island Resort

VIC
Moonraker Dolphin Swims
Phillip Island Nature Parks

New Green Travel Leaders – 2021

NSW

Billabong Retreat
Callicoma Hill Eco-Cabins
EcoTreasures
Inspiring Journeys
K7 Adventures
Kosciuszko Thredbo Backcountry Adventures
Life’s An Adventure
Reynella Rides
Understand Down Under

QLD
Broadwater Haven
Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge
Mt Cotton Retreat
NRMA Atherton Tablelands Holiday Park
Ocean Free & Ocean Freedom – Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours
Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
• The Tour Collective
Yongala Dive

SA
Narnu Farm

VIC
Oceania Tours
Park Trek Walking Holidays
Parks Victoria Walks, National Parks and Reserves
Parks Victoria Wilderness Retreats
Polperro Dolphin Swims
Sea All Dolphin Swims

WA
Naturaliste Charters

NT
Lords Kakadu & Arnhemland Safaris

COMPANIES CHAMPIONING ECOTOURISM IN OCTOBER

It takes dedication and passion to pave the way for a sustainable future. By beginning their ECO Certification journey, tourism operators can ensure they are putting in place effective and ethical sustainability practices for the longevity of their operation and the conservation of the natural environment. Here are the tourism operators who completed their criteria and achieved certification in October 2021! 

 

North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens (NSW)

Pink and white flowers in a bunch protruding from a leafy bush

A family favourite in Coffs Harbour, North Coast Regional Botanic Garden achieved Ecotourism Certification to ensure the longevity of its subtropical garden paradise. Boasting 20 hectares of Crown Land, the gardens are bound by the glassy Coffs Creek making for a tranquil visit.

The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden hosts a wide range of subtropical plants ranging from rainforest species, to international species, and even safeguarding a selection of rare and endangered Australian species for visitors to appreciate.

With 5 kilometres of boardwalks and paths, most of these pathways are wheelchair accessible for a relaxing weekend activity. Why not try the Sensory Garden to experience the flourishing flora with all of your senses? Find our what else they have in store on Facebook!

 

Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat (NSW)

Coffs Coast Moutnain Retreat property

Our new Nature Tourism certified eco-stay Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat is the private nature getaway we all need. Tucked into the tranquil subtropical and bushland surroundings of Lowanna, New South Wales, this eco-friendly accommodation prides itself on the five acres of untouched, natural environment that surrounds their two beautiful properties available to book.

Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat recognise that the natural environment is their home and they do everything they can to minimise their impact. Their solar panels and energy-efficient light-bulbs cut CO2 emissions, while food and paper products are composted to feed their gardens. They hope they inspire you to be wise about your carbon footprint too!

But words don’t do these properties justice – see for yourself on their Facebook and Instagram!

FROM DEPLETION TO REGENERATION – THE TOUR LETTING TRAVELLERS SAVE KOALA HABITATS

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT FOR READERS INCLUDED BELOW!

Gracing the Eyre Peninsula region, Mikkira Station marks the perimeter of a secluded private property where an array of native flora and fauna seek sanctuary. Its quiet surrounds mean kangaroos, emus, koalas, and echidnas have free reign in this small pocket of South Australia just for themselves.

When Craig ‘Hassie’ Haslam and the Untamed Escapes team bring travellers to appreciate these animals, it’s about striking the perfect balance between giving them the space to roam comfortably, all while staying just close enough to have the privilege of witnessing them. Their extensive experience in South Australia, and Hassie’s affinity for gripping storytelling, makes them the experts in taking travellers on the journey through Mikkira Station’s untouched beauty.

ResizedImage350241 Koala Mikkira close up

For koala lovers, Mikkira Station’s tranquil expanse is home to the only koalas that can be found in the Eyre Peninsula, reaching a population of around 170. But it wasn’t always that way.

Upon white settlement in South Australia, the clearing of eucalyptus forests for agriculture put pressure on its koala population, accelerated by an increasingly popular koala fur trade that was believed to eradicate koalas from the region. Between 1923 and 1925, 18 koalas were introduced to the Eyre Peninsula region to counteract the damage done.

Today, the population continues to grow, but they still need our help as invasive plants damage vegetation and displace koalas. But how can we help?

ResizedImage350262 Koala and joey at Mikkira

Untamed Escapes’ new 6 Day Eyre Peninsula & Flinders Ranges Adventure Tour is an immersive South Australian adventure to remember with a koala conservation twist. Between the surfing, breathtaking landscapes, camping under the stars, and swimming with sea lions, travellers will band together to spend half a day planting trees or removing the weeds that threaten koala habitats at Mikkira Station. It’s not often tourists come away from their holiday knowing their efforts have left the natural environment better, but for the Untamed Escapes team, letting tourists contribute habitat regeneration was a no-brainer.

“Ecotourism and regeneration is in the DNA of the business,” stated Hassie. Whether people simply become aware of the state of koalas in the Eyre Peninsula or want to get hands-on to make a difference, Hassie explained that education was the driving force behind their conservation mission.

So what was the catalyst that brought this unique initiative into action?

ResizedImage350233 Koala Mikkira 1

“It was the bushfires,” said Business Development and Marketing Manager Anna Heaton, describing how an idea to add a conservation element to their tour floated around in conversation for a few years before the devastating effect of the 2019/20 bushfires spurred an urgency to revive koala habitats stronger than ever. Now koalas would have to overcome a loss of habitat, as well as the invasive plants populating the Eyre Peninsula dominating the vegetation koalas depend upon.

Two species of plants introduced to Australia have been identified as the main culprits: Polygala and the African Daisy. These resilient weeds regenerate quickly when their habitats are disturbed by fires of land clearing and dominate koala habitats. Thankfully, mitigating their implications for the surrounding environment is as simple as pulling these weeds out.

ResizedImage350262 Koala Mikkira

Untamed Escapes had valuable minds contributing to curating this habitat rehabilitation experience for travellers. One was Geoff Rayson, an influential force in environmental regeneration who played an integral role in establishing Port Lincoln National Park in a previous role. Five years from retirement, Geoff asked Hassie for the opportunity to continue developing regeneration initiatives for Untamed Escapes for the remainder of his career – and Hassie listened. Geoff is excited to develop even more new programs for the Untamed Escapes team into the future.

The koala habitat regeneration program is the embodiment of Hassie’s philosophy, which he has carried with him throughout his illustrious ecotourism career: “We’ve all got a responsibility to say, however we leave this planet, whatever we do, let’s just make sure we leave it better.”

Nature’s transformative effect on travellers just became that much more rewarding. How could you beat that?

 

EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR READERS:
$200pp discount off 6 Day Eyre Peninsula & Flinders Ranges Adventure Tour when you use promo code KOALAS
Travel Dates – November 2021 to March 31 2022
Booking Dates – until 30 November 2021
Don’t wait, BOOK NOW!

untamed escapes

[All photos courtesy of Untamed Escapes]