45% OF ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA MEMBERS CERTIFIED FOR 10+ YEARS

A focus on sustainability is not new to Australia’s nature-based tourism sector, with almost half of Ecotourism Australia certified operators now certified for a decade or longer.

With a membership of close to 500 accommodations, tour companies and attractions around Australia, Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman says that the longevity of these tourism businesses – many of them small to medium sized enterprises and family businesses – is a testament to their focus on delivering high quality experiences for visitors:

“Ecotourism Australia members have all been certified through one of our programs – primarily ECO Certification – and the reality is businesses who choose ECO Certification survive and thrive when compared to other tourism businesses,” he says.

To achieve certification, a business needs to go through quite a rigorous process and meet a number of criteria not just around their environmental and community impacts but around their general business operations.

“A business can’t be called sustainable if it’s not financially sustainable,” Mr Hillman says, “and a part of the certification process is looking at the operator’s business plans, operational plans and risk management plans.

“An operator that has these kinds of documents in place is more likely to be prepared for unexpected events, like what we’ve seen recently, because they have already been forced to think about the ‘what ifs’ that inevitably are part of the tourism sector.”

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Photo: Busselton Jetty

One of the businesses certified for ten years this year (and therefore given the title of Green Travel Leader) is multi-award winning Western Australian tourism icon, Busselton Jetty. Environmental Manager Sophie Teede says that being ECO certified has helped the business to look critically at its business model and plans in order to constantly improve its operations.

“Being an ECO certified operator has [also] given us the confidence to embrace the nature aspects of our business and encourage our visitors to enjoy our beautiful environment as it is. We have been able to confidently market aspects of our business that perhaps as locals are taken for granted and show them proudly to our visitors.”

This year, 31 Ecotourism Australia certified operators will be added as Green Travel Leaders, joining the 213 existing 10 year + members, while 10 more will be added to Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame for being certified for 20 years.

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For questions and comments, please contact Lina Cronin – Communications Manager – 0422 325 488

INSIGHT AUSTRALIA TRAVEL JOINS ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Ecotourism Australia welcomes its newest Business Member, Insight Australia Travel. Insight Australia Travel is a Sydney-based, 100% Australian focussed, boutique style inbound tour operator that specialises in group travel, special interest groups and cruise ship excursions. 

Established in 2002, Insight Australia Travel has great experience in successfully handling groups of all sizes, predominately from Western Hemisphere markets.

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Credit: Insight Australia Travel

Each itinerary is tailored to the group’s specific requirements regarding interest, timing and budget. Furthermore, the itineraries incorporate the collective knowledge and experience of the Insight Australia Travel team. Groups are able to enjoy the must-see highlights as well as local insider insights. Insight Australia Travel tailors tours in all the major centres of Australia as well as all the more hidden gems, from Arnhemland to Bruny Island or Rottnest to Lord Howe.

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Credit: Insight Australia Travel

Insight Australia Travel enjoys long-standing relationships with operators and suppliers across the country to ensure professional service delivery at a competitive rate. In addition, the experienced team is constantly sourcing new products and experiences to ensure each traveller has the opportunity to enjoy the best that Australia has to offer.

Insight Australia Travel is committed to sustainable tourism. The business aims to keep its environmental footprint small and uses tourism to help local communities and raise support for conservation.

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Credit: Insight Australia Travel

The company is passionate about helping others to enjoy the things they treasure most. For this reason, the staff aim to tread lightly and leave a positive impact on people, places and the planet with everything they do, both in the office and on the road. For example, as a team, Insight Australia Travel aims to reduce the environmental footprint of its business operations by reducing, reusing and recycling at every opportunity. As a business, Insight Australia Travel has also eliminated single-use plastics from its operations and encourages its partners and suppliers to do the same.

 

For more information check out Insight Australia Travel’s website.

 

[Header image credit: Insight Australia Travel]

 

BAREFOOT TOURS ACHIEVES A HAT TRICK OF CERTIFICATION

You know an operator is committed to the principles of ecotourism when they achieve Advanced Ecotourism, Climate Action Business and Respecting our Culture (ROC) certification all on their first attempt. We are very proud to welcome Cairns-based Barefoot Tours to the Ecotourism Australia family!

An independently owned local business, Barefoot Tours is made up of a small team of passionate and engaged staff. Their certified tours – the Atherton Tablelands Rainforest and Waterfall Day Tour, Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Day Tour and Mission Beach and Dunk Island Day Tour – take visitors to the beautiful sites surrounding Cairns, connecting them with nature, teaching them about the local culture and giving them a deeper understanding of the Far North Queensland region – all while throwing in a good dose of fun and laughter for the journey.

Barefoot Tours at Josephine Falls website Certification article 2

The company’s staff are trained in fuel efficient driving practices and vehicle emissions are measured and offset annually. In further efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, the business reduces the amount of meat provided per tour, recycles and buys biodegradable products where possible, picks items with as little amount of packaging as possible and measures its emissions source by source. It also supports local businesses as much as possible in order to both support the local community and reduce the environmental impact associated with transporting goods from other regions.

All food scraps are composted, and care is taken to minimize food waste by considering the required food quantity for the number of guests on a tour. Guests are encouraged to return brochures for reuse, and all promotional materials are printed on FSC certified paper, although digital (paper-free) marketing is prioritised.

Barefoot Tours stop with bus FB certification article

Climate action is high on the agenda for Barefoot Tours, with staff participating in industry forums on how the regional tourism industry can collaboratively adapt to climate change. All tour guests are provided information upon booking that highlights the environmental characteristics of the areas they visit and how they can practice responsible tourist behaviours both during their trip and before leaving home. Climate change interpretation is also included in Barefoot Tours’ excursions, during which guests are educated on the direct impacts of climate change in the local area and efforts made by local communities to adapt to the changing environment.

Barefoot Tours at Lake Eacham website certification article

All guides are experienced and passionate about the region, with two of them certified ECO Guides and one being a local Indigenous guide who conducts bush tucker and survival talks and tells his family’s dreamtime stories. This Indigenous guide also trains new staff on Indigenous engagement and interpretation.

A portion of the company’s profits each year goes into the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which focus on translating books into local language and distributing them to remote communities across Australia in an effort to boost literacy and first language skills and encourage these communities to also publish their own stories.

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Once again, congratulations to Barefoot Tours and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia community!

For more information about Barefoot Tours, visit their website or Facebook page.

 

[All photos courtesy of Barefoot Tours’ website and Facebook page]

NATURE: YOU NEED IT MORE THAN YOU MIGHT REALISE

Needing to self-isolate over the past few weeks has forced most of us to stay at home. While spending time indoors can be used productively for all sorts of tasks, a lot of us are excited about getting back outdoors to breath in some fresh air and feel the sun on our skin.

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Photo: Dirk Hartog Island (Advanced Ecotourism certified; Green Travel Leader)

Getting that right amount of sunshine helps our body to produce vitamin D and is great for our immune system as well as for our moods. Spending time outdoors clears and refreshes our minds and connecting to nature can benefit our health and can boost happiness.

But how should we be spending time outside?

Nobody knows better than you what your own body needs. For some people, it can be that walk along the beach that brings the extra refreshment to their mind. For others, it could be a downhill bike ride in the bush. Spending time in nature might just be those ten minutes a day in which we avoid the busyness and tasks of everyday life, or it might be a weekend getaway in the middle of Daintree rainforest. Either way, spending time in nature enables our bodies to reconnect and to put things into perspective. Being surrounded by nature stops us from getting distracted or feeling the need to stimulate ourselves with the latest news.

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Photo: Ocean Safari Lodge (Advanced Ecotourism certified; Green Travel Leader)

Obviously, getting outside can also help you keep fit. As soon as we step outside, we move our muscles and exercise. And while we might be exhausted at the end of the day of hiking, kayaking or climbing, we will be all the more thankful for our better sleep later on. A good appetite, pleasant emotions throughout the day and overall calmness are also benefits of walks, light sports, exercises or camping in nature. It’s no wonder that in the evenings we’ve spent time in nature we land in bed in a good state of mind and body and sleep tight!

Spending time in nature can bring us more energy in the long term. Walking in the fresh air enhances concentration, giving your mind a break from all the tasks awaiting at home, restores our mood and has a relaxation effect for our body and mind.

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Photo: Wilpena Pound Resort (Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certified)

Being in nature also gives us the ability to embrace the space around us with all our senses. We inevitably stumble across different smells, lights, sounds and feelings. It’s a good way to practice mindfulness and strengthen our connection with ourselves and our surroundings.

Nature simultaneously provides us with a recognition of complexity and sense of simplicity of the world we live in. It wakes up our most inner feelings and instincts. It’s a completely individual experience, and is often exactly what we need in our busy schedules between work, family, sport, meeting with friends and our seemingly ever increasing lists of things to do.

When was the last time you spent quality time in nature?

 

[Cover image: Pemberton Discovery Tours (Advanced Ecotourism certified, Green Travel Leader)

WELCOMING AUSTRALIA INBOUND TO THE ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys has recently joined the Ecotourism Australia (EA) family as a Business Member. The inbound tour operator and destination management company designs and operates products that are guaranteed to deliver unique and unforgettable travel experiences. The business operates from Austinmer, a small seaside town just an hour away from Sydney and specialises in group-based products and independent itineraries.

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Credit: Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys

Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys sets its focus on excellent service by networking with local partners, many of them Ecotourism Australia certified. This enables the business to deliver a portfolio of highly rated products, accommodating a wide range of budgets, standards of comfort and levels of activity.

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Credit: Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys

Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys works to contribute to a reduction in the environmental cost coming from tourism, while working to have a positive impact on the local communities. When designing their clients’ itineraries, the business aims to provide travel experiences that are fair and sustainable. The designed products make use of operators that value responsible tourism and who are also ECO certified. Another focus is on bringing guests to less-visited places to minimize the contribution to over-tourism.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, the team at Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys is eager to expand their business and grow their product offering and would love to hear from you. For more information check out the Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys website.

 

[Header image credit: Australia Inbound by Orange Journeys (Facebook)]