Located at the southernmost gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the Bundaberg region is home to the largest rookery in the southern hemisphere of the endangered loggerhead turtle, and the only ranger guided turtle experience on the Australian east coast. The region also boasts the production of 25% of Australia’s fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as the largest Macadamia nut producing region in the country.
Attracting more than 1.7 million visitors each year, tourism is a significant industry for the Bundaberg region, providing employment and a sense of pride and identity for local communities.
Bundaberg Tourism is the destination management organisation for the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions, focused on driving visitation to the destination and striving to build a healthy and sustainable regional tourism economy.
Bundaberg Tourism’s Destination Strategic Plan outlines the foundational pillars of the tourism industry for the Bundaberg Region, highlighting an ethos of Green and Meaningful, with sustainability at the forefront of the visitor experience, promoting a strong community sense of responsibility for the land, for the turtle population and for the Great Barrier Reef.
The Bundaberg region’s tourism industry is an engaged and proactive collective, with a clear sense of passion and commitment to the destination’s offerings and the region’s overall prosperity. Working in partnership with Bundaberg Regional Council and the tourism industry, the region is striving for ECO Destination certification in 2021, and also supports a number of operators working towards accreditation.
[all photos courtesy of Bundaberg Tourism]
Six additional bushfire-affected destinations will receive support to build back better and revitalise their local economies through nature-based tourism, thanks to a new partnership between Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia.
The Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, and Port Macquarie-Hastings in New South Wales, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, and Scenic Rim in South East Queensland will benefit from the partnership and begin their journey to become certified ECO Destinations.
Each destination will be supported by WWF-Australia with a two-year $30,000 package that covers all costs to progress through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination program.
Ecotourism Australia’s Chief Executive Rod Hillman said he was delighted to have the six new destinations join East Gippsland in Victoria and Quandamooka Country in Queensland in the program.
“We are working hard to support our tourism industry that has been hit hard in 2020 by bushfires and COVID and can see tangible benefits for regional tourism through this funding program,” he said.
WWF-Australia’s CEO Dermot O’Gorman said the partnership would help to restore the local economies in bushfire-affected destinations.
“The devasting double blow of the fires and pandemic has left many communities that depend on tourism hurting like never before. This partnership will help Australia’s nature-based tourism sector get back on its feet and support tourism activities that are good for both people and the environment,” he said.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said he was incredibly proud that the region will be recognised as a world-class ecotourism destination.
“This certification will help us effectively promote our region to the increasing proportion of travellers who are hungry for sustainable travel experiences. It’s the stamp of approval that we are who we say we are – an authentic destination for environmentally aware visitors,” he said.
Fiona Barden from Coffs Harbour City Council said “obtaining ECO Destination status for Coffs Coast will enable our destination, the communities, environments and values, to thrive through long-term sustainable tourism management.
“By working together with our key stakeholders, businesses and communities we can unite in the importance of becoming an ECO Destination, and deliver multiple benefits for our people and places,” she said.
Scenic Rim Regional Council endorsed the partnership with EA and WWF-Australia with Mayor Greg Christensen commenting the offer represented a tremendous opportunity for the region.
“By becoming a Certified ECO Destination, the Scenic Rim will join an established global network of like-minded destinations striving for ecotourism excellence,” he said.
“ECO Destination Certification has previously been identified as a goal for the Scenic Rim and would enhance our region’s tourism offering and credentials, broadening our appeal to the visitors we wish to attract – those who value sustainability and minimal impacts on the natural environment.”
Central Coast Council Mayor Lisa Matthews said the program will play a key role in the Central Coast’s future as a tourism hub.
“This has been a year of unprecedented challenges and the Central Coast is excited to be working with Ecotourism Australia to ensure nature and ecotourism flourishes in our region and plays an important role in our recovery and our future as a tourist destination,” she said.
With the demand for sustainable travel experiences growing worldwide, Mr Hillman said “the ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.”
For questions and comments, please contact:
Ingrid Huitema – Communications and Marketing, Ecotourism Australia
0408 112 728 / [email protected]
Congratulations to our newest certified operator, Fraser Island Boat Charters, for achieving ECO Certification at the Ecotourism level for its Bareboating Yacht Hire, Skippered Charters and Big Woody Island Tours.
Fraser Island Charter Boats operates throughout the Great Sandy Strait and their charter area stretches as far north as Rooney Point off K’gari (Fraser Island) and south through the straits to Inskip Point.
With Bareboat Yacht Hire you can explore the waters of the Great Sandy Strait at your own pace for a unique holiday. Or if you just want to sit back and relax. They also offer private skippered charters including full catering options.
The tourism experience run by Fraser Island Boat Charters features a focus on awareness of the rich natural assets on the Fraser Coast and aims to utilise this awareness in minimising their impact on the Great Sandy Marine Park.
Given they operate small vessels, with a maximum of 32 people for a day charter and 10 for an overnight charter, they can significantly reduce their long term impacts on the local environment. The company has also installed solar on their charters to reduce their energy consumption.
Fraser Island Charter Boats contribute to the conservation objectives of the Great Sandy Marine Park by informing guests through both interpretive talks and reading materials on how to protect and conserve marine species and ecosystems, particularly throughout the winter season when the humpbacks whales visit the Hervey Bay region.
Congratulations once again to Fraser Island Boat Charters for achieving ECO Ecotourism certification and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!