PLANTING THE SEED TO REDUCE EMISSIONS: THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead 

The Australian environment remains in the international spotlight and the devastation caused by the recent bushfires is still very real for those who proudly call this nation home. One of the many ongoing impacts which can’t be ignored is the amount of carbon dioxide which has been released into the atmosphere. In fact, alarming reports show Australia has already surpassed two-thirds of last year’s total man-made emissions.

Measuring emissions is now included in Ecotourism Australia’s (EA’s) ECO Certification program and the outcomes achieved by certified operators show that by following current guidelines and utilising proven tools, business owners can easily create opportunities to reduce their annual carbon footprint. The tourism industry is recognised as one of Australia’s biggest economic contributors and employers and the ecotourism community is well positioned to play their part in rebuilding a sustainable nation.

The tourism industry isn’t without its own emission challenges — think for example of the rise of the flight shaming movement gathering momentum in 2019 — however, while the world continues to wait for sustainable aviation fuel commercialisation, it is time to concentrate on reducing emissions in other areas of business which can be independently controlled.

Travel company Responsible Travel has recently begun this important conversation. They have commissioned a study which aims at beginning to understand the carbon footprint associated with other areas of the holiday experience; such as food and accommodation. “This is a small pilot study based only on a small number of holidays,” says Ecotourism Australia Certification and Policy Manager Eloise Touchot, “still, I find that we often forget to consider emissions from food choices, so I liked that it brings attention to the topic.”

How does the current food production system effect GHG emissions?

Our World in Data reports that the global food system accounts for approximately 26% of GHG emissions with the largest portion of 31% attributed to livestock and fisheries. A further 27% lies with crop production, 24% with land use and 18% with supply chains.

Whilst measuring the carbon cost of a holiday is an emerging conversation, the environmental impact of meat production is one topic which has gained momentum over recent years, prompting mainstream media to declare 2019 The Year of the Vegan. This declaration has been supported with high profile events, such as the Oscars, announcing the menu for the Nominee Luncheon to be served vegan.

As the focus of wellness and living a clean lifestyle become mainstream, so is the rise of those committing to plant-based diet. Australia has been ranked as the third-fastest growing worldwide vegan market which means it is well and truly time for tourism operators to accommodate a variety of dietary needs into their menu. This is not only a positive step towards reducing emissions but also to ensure a variety of food options is available for guests.

Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators joining the plant-based revolution

Food Emissions Article Billabong Retreat

Plant Based Selection / credit: Billabong Retreat

It is becoming increasingly familiar to read menu boards across the country which offer local and seasonal foods highlighting the support of regional farmers and minimising food miles. It is also commonplace to see commercial kitchens accommodating a range of dietary needs including gluten free, dairy free, nut free and plant-based options. Many of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators have gone a step further with their environmental commitment by providing broader and more specialised sustainable food choices to their guests. 

Vegetarian options have dominated menus at mindfulness retreats long before wellness became a mainstream lifestyle choice. Billabong Retreat in NSW, who are ECO certified Nature Tourism, are one such example. A strong food commitment has been embedded as part of their founding principles as Billabong Retreat believe “the food is everything”. They serve delicious vegetable based homestyle meals “not because we promote vegetarianism, but because we believe on average people don’t eat enough vegetables and we want to inspire our guests to eat more by showing them how amazing and yummy they can be!”

As research develops and awareness grows, we are entering a new norm and, as a result, are seeing operators outside the traditional health and wellness category integrate sustainable food choices as best practice. One example of this is Wavelength Reef Cruises in QLD, an Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action certified business, who operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) newsletter, “High Standard Tourism Operator Wavelength Reef Cruises went fully vegetarian for their tourism product as part of [their] approach to addressing climate change. Wavelength is following the advice of researchers that eating a plant-rich diet is a globally scalable way of people reducing their personal carbon emissions.”

Food Emissions Article Wavelength

Vegetarian Selection / credit: Wavelength Reef Cruises

But is going completely plant-based the only way to reduce emissions and have a positive impact on the environment? Dropbear Adventures in QLD, ECO certified at the Nature Tourism level, have explored other alternatives as they love to look after their vegans and vegetarians just as much as their meat eaters. “Our fruit and vegetables are all sourced locally as we believe it’s very important to support our local farmers. And as part of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, we’ve recently made some changes to the types of meat we serve on our tours. Beef is now off the menu and has been replaced with kangaroo [which is] much more sustainable and healthier!”

As with all new conversations there are many aspects to consider so, as many EA operators value the importance of continuous improvement, we have put together a collection of helpful suggestions. These are designed to ‘plant the seed’ (pun intended) and provide some ideas around how you can reduce your emissions, provide support for your fellow countryman and use your story to educate your guests with value-adding interpretations. 

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Supporting Australian Agriculture / credit: Pixabay

1.    Reduce

If offering a complete plant-based menu isn’t your thing, consider a commitment to the ‘Reducetarian’ lifestyle by providing less meat, dairy and egg options in your menu. You could do this by:

  • Participating in annual events such as Vegetarian Week
  • Include #MeatFreeMonday in your weekly schedule
  • Serve one plant-based meal per day
  • Reduce the quantity of meat in recipes by substituting with plant-based options
  • Try positioning meat dishes at the end of the buffet aisle. This has been shown to cut people’s meat intake by 20%

 2. Support – ‘we rise by lifting others’

Never has there been a better time to buy fresh produce from local farmers, which reduces food miles, as well as encouraging your visitors to show support to social initiatives whose primary focus is to generate income into the Australian economy. Tourism Australia has launched a nationwide campaign designed to encourage Australians to #HolidayHereThisYear, and there are also calls to #BuyFromTheBush and grab an #EmptyEsky, before heading to impacted communities and filling it with local food, wine and wares. #SpendWithThem helps regions along on their road to recovery and, although you as an operator may not be able to head out on a #RoadtripForGood, you can exercise your buying power and encourage your visitors to do the same. This is one simple way to add value to the lives of those affected as they begin their #BushfireBounceback.

 3. Educate

Ecotourism operators welcome visitors who value ecologically sustainable tourism and have a primary focus of experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation. The Ecotourism Australia community of 500 certified businesses holds the unique position of educating guests through quality interpretation programs, promoting new business developments and annual campaigns via social media platforms and offering quality training on best practice sustainable development to their teams. Harnessing these communication opportunities is a simple yet effective way to encourage new habits through leading by example.

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Celebrating Australian Producers / credit: Pixabay

As the conversation around emission reductions in food and accommodation gains momentum, EA and the extended community values the thoughts and opinions from operators in the field. Does your business offer either vegetarian or vegan options? What benefits have you found by increasing plant-based options within your meal planning? If no, what challenges have you come across which have prevented you from changing your menu? Other than food, how else have you been reducing emissions within your business?

 

[Header image credit: Pixabay] 

World Economic Forum: 6 ways travelling professionals can cut their carbon footprint

Here are six ways we recommend you get started, in order from the easiest to implement to the most environmentally impactful: (1) Travel with trust: When looking for a place to stay, look for accommodations that utilize various sustainability standards. […] Use the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s list of trusted standards used in different countries as […]

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TEN ROMANTIC ECO EXPERIENCES TO ADD TO YOUR BUCKET LIST

Has Valentine’s Day got you looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other or simply wanting to spend some quality time away? To get you excited for your next romantic eco trip, Ecotourism Australia has highlighted 10 of its most romantic experiences to enjoy. While each individual has a different idea of what makes for a romantic experience, there is something for everybody to find. Whereas for some it is the secluded getaway at a treehouse retreat, for others it is the adventurous horseback trip. Have a look and don’t forget to add these prestigious ECO certified experiences to your bucket list.

1. Somewhere Unique

 couple deck SomewhereUnique Website

Views at Somewhere Unique. / Credit: Somewhere Unique

The couples’ retreat Somewhere Unique is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a nature-based getaway that’s easy to reach on a weekend. Only a two-hour drive from the Sydney CBD lays the picturesque Wollombi Valley. You will get to the 20-acre bushland property in the Wollombi Valley by travelling via the historic and scenic Great North Road. Somewhere Unique combines a tranquil setting with luxurious, romantic couples-only accommodation, superb comfort and attention to detail. Choose between the Lowanna or Allawah Retreat and enjoy time with your significant other in a one bedroom fully self-contained accommodation. Both retreats have been strategically placed to ensure privacy for each couple, and thoughtfully designed to create a harmonious and romantic ambience. Add a massage or a wine tour to your stay or make use of the provided bicycles. You do not miss out on any luxury by staying at this ECO certified Nature Tourism retreat. At Somewhere Unique in the Hunter Valley, the importance of caring for the environment is directly linked to caring for the needs of guests. Find out more about Somewhere Unique here.

2. Whitsunday Rent A Yacht & Sunsail Whitsundays

 Whitsunday Rent a Yacht Website

Exploring the Whitsunday Islands. / Credit: Whitsunday Rent A Yacht & Sunsail Whitsundays

Dreaming about a romantic adventure? Skipper yourself with one of the bareboat charters at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht & Sunsail Whitsundays and take in the spectacular views around the Whitsunday Islands. Anchor up and tender ashore at one of the islands and enjoy the day on land by going on a bushwalk. Not only do the Whitsunday Islands offer some of the best national park bush walks, but they have some magnificent snorkelling sites as well. You will be able to see turtles, whales and a huge variety of tropical fish. After an adventurous day out on the ocean you can either cook for yourself in the fully equipped kitchen or pre-order all of your food through the provisioning service. Enjoy this prestige experience as a couple or book as a group, however you like to enjoy your romantic time on board. The fleet comprises of yachts, catamarans and motor cruisers, all of which are maintained and operated by the team to ensure guests have the best experience. There is the option of booking a sail guide which gives you the chance to enjoy as much or as little sailing as you want. Whitsunday-Rent-A-Yacht is determined to ensure the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef remain well cared for. Through their offer of ECO certified experiences, they want to ensure that your time on board is spent in an environmentally and culturally sustainable manner. Check out here for more information.

3. HeliSpirit

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Views of the Kimberley. / Credit: HeliSpirit

If you’re not afraid of heights and want to add some adventure to your romantic eco experience, HeliSpirit is the right choice for you. It is no secret that helicopters are an exciting, adventurous and special way to travel. Enjoy the breathtaking flights over this amazing country from eleven bases across the Kimberley, Pilbara and Northern Territory. HeliSpirit operates a fleet of helicopters at key locations across the Kimberley including Kununurra, Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle) and Mitchell Falls, as well as Katherine Gorge and Karratha. Sit back and discover the inspiring landscapes with a scenic flight or an extended Luxury Helicopter Safari. While you enjoy this romantic eco experience, HeliSpirit’s well trained pilots will take you up in the air and show you sights you could never see from the ground. This ECO certified tour operator is locally owned and wants you to learn about the history of the different ranges. Book the Lake Argyle Tour and have the option of a remote landing in a secret spring for a picnic or a swim or watch the sunset on this unforgettable experience. Have a look on here for further information.

4. Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat

 Treehouse website

Outside terrace at the treehouse. / Credit: Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat

If you are looking for a romantic hideaway, Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat is the right place. Located along the Camden Haven River on the East Coast just above Newcastle, the retreat is the perfect place to slow down and rejuvenate. This is a romantic experience high among the trees between the river and the sea. This luxury accommodation offers two private treehouses, which are accessible via a 40 metre boardwalk. This enables visitors with wheelchairs to access the nature retreat as well. The retreat is on the edge of two national parks and within 10 kilometres of three other parks and nature reserves, protected wetlands and some of the most stunning beaches and waterways in Australia. The treehouses were built to be environmentally sensitive and to have an extremely low ongoing carbon footprint. Enjoy this special adventure surrounded by native wildlife. Bring more romance in by booking a massage in front of the fire in your own treehouse. Special services are offered, such as on-site babysitting or campfires. Relax in the treetops at Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat where the pristine environment is still respected. Find out more about this eco experience on here.

5. Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks

 Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks QLD Website

Sunset at Magnetic Island. / Credit: Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks

Enjoy the beautiful sunset in Horseshoe Bay during a Kayak Sunset Tour with Magnetic Island Sea Kayaks. You will discover the unique bays in the national marine parks and the rocky coastline of Magnetic Island from your kayak. Paddle through the calm waters and watch the turtles come to the surface and the wildlife prepare itself for the night. This is a perfect evening experience within a romantic ambience. Have a chat while you enjoy a drink on your kayak or simply sit in silence as the sun sets behind the anchored sailboats. This tour is suitable for beginner to intermediate paddlers and operates with a minimum of two and maximum of 12 customers. Click here to find out more.

6. Peninsula Hot Springs

 peninsula hot springs website

Private pools at Peninsula Hot Springs. / Credit: Peninsula Hot Springs

Go for a steamy romantic eco experience at Peninsula Hot Springs. Enjoy the geothermal mineral-rich waters that flow from the deep underground into the many pools. Only an hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD, the Hot Springs offer a range of private baths where you can relax by yourself or with your partner. Furthermore, Peninsula Hot Springs offers bath houses where you can socialise and watch the stunning 360-degree view of the region. Enjoy the ECO certified Nature Tourism sanctuary, where your mind and body can relax in the beautiful natural surroundings. Choose between indoor and outdoor pools ranging from 36 Celsius to 43 Celsius and recharge in this romantic ambience. Look up more information on here.

7. Bogong Horseback Adventures

 Bogong horseback website

Up on the horseback in Alpine National Park. / Credit: Bogong Horseback Adventures

Saddle up and explore the Australian High Country of North East Victoria. Enjoy this romantic eco experience with spectacular views of the Bogong High Plains on the horse’s back. Choose from a two-hour day ride to multi stay packhorse tours and combine great horses with the natural splendour of the Bogong High Plains. Bogong Horseback Adventures offers rides to suit all levels of riders. Add a great fire-cooked meal to your romantic eco vacation while you relax after a day of riding in the pristine Alpine National Park. If you still haven’t got enough of the farm life, you are welcome to stay in their unique farm stay accommodation. Check out here for further information.

8. Walk Into Luxury

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Views on a Walk into Luxury Cape to Cape Hike. / Credit: Walk Into Luxury

Walk into a romantic eco experience with Walk Into Luxury. The ECO certified Advanced Ecotourism operator offers guided and private walks to the south-west of Western Australia to the Cape to Cape Track and Bibbulmun Track in absolute luxury comfort. You can experience the prestige nature combined with gourmet food and wine and exclusive accommodation. If you would like to personalise your walking experience, Walk Into Luxury designs you your own private journey. Enjoy secluded beaches and your own private accommodation with spa included. Find out more here.

9. Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary

 retreat website

Surroundings of Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat. / Credit: Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary

Spend some romantic time in the beautiful Margaret River region, in one of Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary’s chalets. This unique place lies nestled within the boundaries of the protected native wildlife conservation sanctuary and is an ideal place for a private or secluded, small group or romantic getaway. Experience the magic of the Margaret River region in a fully self-contained chalet. Spend your days on one of the close by walking trails or relax in your own private outdoor spa beneath the stars. Surrounded by bushland, the retreat is centrally located with easy access to all the attractions around. Meet the amazing wildlife right on your doorstep like kangaroos, woylies or the huge variety of birds and see how easy it is to be more environmental and energy efficient in your own home. Look up the Retreat on here.

10. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

 Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Website

Views from the boardwalks. / Credit: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Embark on a romantic eco journey with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Discover Australia’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area up in the air in a cable car just outside Cairns. The 7.5km cableway  glides just metres over the canopy of Australia’s tropical rainforests. Sit back and enjoy the stunning views. Two mid-stations, Red Peak and Barron Falls, provide the opportunity to explore and learn about this ancient environment on boardwalks and at the Rainforest Interpretation Centre. Explore the rainforest with your significant other and immerse yourself in the fascinating surroundings. Find out more on here.

 

What’s your favourite nature-based romantic getaway? Tell us about it in the comments below!

(Header image: Walk Into Luxury)

FLY THE KIMBERLY WITH KING LEOPOLD AIR: CERTIFIED SCENIC AND CHARTER FLIGHT

See wild and remote attractions with the newly certified charter and scenic flight tour operator, King Leopold Air. Ecotourism Australia congratulates the Broome based operator for its Nature Tourism Certification for its Buccaneer Explorer, Devonian Reef Explorer, Devonian Reef Adventure Safari, Bungle Bungle Explorer, Bungle Bungle Adventure Safari, Cygnet Bay Explorer, Cygnet Bay Adventure Safari, Karijini Adventure Safari and Mitchell Falls Explorer tours throughout the Kimberly & Pilbara regions.

With more than 25 years of experience, King Leopold Air is a scenic pioneer in north-west Australia and shows its passion for aviation, adventure tourism and sustainable tourism. With its first flights launched in 1992 as a small charter company, King Leopold Air has an extensive aircraft engineering background and decades of experience.

View Facebook King Leopold Air

Join tours like the Buccaneer Explorer, Devonian Reef Adventure Safari or Bungle Bungle Adventure Safari to explore ancient fossilised reefs, arid land ecosystems or ancient caves. Experienced pilots are additionally trained as tour guides and take you to rocky tunnels, crystal-clear waterways or cascading waterfalls. King Leopold Air flies to World Heritage listed sights such as the ancient gorges of Kariijini National Park or majestic Mitchell Falls. Combine the scenic views with one of their guided walking tours and learn about the spiritual significance of one of the sights or go for a swim and enjoy some refreshments. As an alternative you can go on an overnight experience with the Cygnet Bay Adventure Safari Tour where you end the day with a bottle of sparkling and dinner by sunset.

Flights Facebook King Leopold Air

King Leopold Air flies to carefully selected sites and is committed to conserving the landscape. Their commitment to sustainability is shown by their efforts in using a portion of the company’s profits and resources to assist with community development. By involving their staff and the local community, King Leopold Air connects people and fosters a greater understanding about the environment and their impacts. The charter and scenic flight tour operator also transmits a greater understanding and appreciation of natural values and resources to their guests through their tour experiences. They are committed to continuous improvement in the context of sustainable development and management of tourism. Besides that, King Leopold Air manages and monitors the environmental, cultural and social impacts of their activities.

It is key to the flight tour operator to share amazing landscapes and increase awareness at the same time by offering great experiences with safety, excellence and knowledge.

Once again, we welcome King Leopold Air to the Ecotourism Australia family and congratulate them on achieving certification!

For more information about the offered tours by Kind Leopold Air visit their website, Facebook Page or check out reviews on TripAdvisor.

[Photo credit: King Leopold Air]

 

Transforming tourism through sustainable procurement – How TUI Group uses the GSTC Criteria

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The post Transforming tourism through sustainable procurement – How TUI Group uses the GSTC Criteria appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

A FAMILY OF OVERCOMERS

The magic of storytelling lies in its ability to simultaneously educate and inspire you; to pull you into another’s world and then spin you around to see how their life relates to yours.

When Michelle Reynolds, great granddaughter of pastoralist Steve Reynolds, tells the story of Skytrek Willow Springs Station, a Nature Tourism certified working sheep station 21km north east of Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, it’s easy to see all the elements of a great tale of endurance and adaptability.

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Brendan, Carmel and Michelle Reynolds // Credit: inmyshoesPhotography

Once a large family business in Merino Wool, Skytrek diversified into tourism when Michelle’s parents Brendan and Carmel joined her grandparents, Kevin and Margaret, as partners in the farm. With long-term environmental and economic sustainability of the farm as their prime motivation, they could not have imagined the many benefits that this sideways step would bring.

A humble but modern recently constructed shearer’s quarters that was only being used by farm workers for up to two weeks of the year was easily converted into accommodation for visitors, and Skytrek’s prime location near Wilpena Pound meant that their first venture into the tourism industry was relatively easy.

Tourism thrived in the region and despite the many hurdles they faced – a collapse in wool prices, high interest rates, droughts, floods and bushfires, just to name a few – the Reynolds family resolutely continued expanding the tourism side of their business. Soon, other existing buildings were converted to additional accommodation for travellers: the former Jackeroo’s Cottage became a self-contained cabin with two bedrooms, and the building which once housed School of the Air classes became a quaint holiday home perfect for couples and young families.

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Skytrek Willow Springs Station’s accommodation is the perfect place to relax. / Credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station

But the Reynolds family didn’t stop there: in 1994, Brendan and Carmel opened a 70km 4WD track which catapulted Skytrek from a station with some visitor accommodation to a destination for 4WD enthusiasts from all over Australia. Soon, the success of the 4WD track meant the family had to set up extra facilities for people to camp, and an increased workload meant that they had to bring on additional staff.

By the time Michelle came back to take over the tourism part of the business in 2011, her parents had diversified into yet another direction by starting a waste management business together with neighbouring properties. This business service today services many other parts of the region including Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business certified Rawnsley Park Station, Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certified Wilpena Pound Resort and others.

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The stunning landscape around Skytrek 4WD track. / Credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station

The tourism side of Skytrek, which is by now a stand-alone enterprise, meanwhile employs two permanent staff and two additional casual employees throughout the main tourism season.

Although the Reynolds have diversified their work significantly since the station’s early days as a sheep farm, Michelle says that pastoralism is still a major focus of the station.

“Despite the drought, wool growing is still a major focus,” she says.  “We’ve destocked to just a bare minimum of breeding ewes, under a quarter of our normal carrying capacity for the station. However, we remain confident it will bounce back in time – unfortunately tourism can’t make it rain.”

Whilst tourism can’t bring rain, it can bring visitors to the region who in turn provide jobs and income for local residents (not only stations but local cafes, petrol stations and stores benefit when people visit the region). Tourists also bring seasonal income which can help through periods of drought or downturn, and perhaps most importantly, they can provide real mental health benefits for rural landowners.

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Camping under the stars. / Credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station

“The opportunity to see the area through someone else’s eyes is uplifting and reminds us how beautiful the landscape can be even at its harshest,” says Michelle.

“Sometimes just that short conversation with a visitor can completely change your day.”

Interestingly, whilst the drought provides an ongoing uphill battle for the Reynolds in terms of their pastoral side of their business, it’s not something which has put off Skytrek’s visitors. In fact, Michelle notes, guests are coming to realise that you “don’t need wildflowers or running water to make the Flinders Ranges beautiful.”

“Visitors to the region aren’t just looking for a resort to relax anymore,” she explains.

“People want to be educated, they want to learn about the different lifestyles and find out new and exciting things. We regularly get questions from our guests about life out here – how does the station work? What are the daily activities? How do the stock survive in such difficult times? This is bringing more meaning to their everyday lives back at home. They are appreciating where their clothes are from, how the meals got on their plates, etc. Additionally, we find people are being more respectful around water usage and their environmental impact.”

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The entrance sculpture/sign to Skytrek was designed and created by South Australian artist George Aldridge. It is designed to show how powerfully art and tourism can work together to capture the essence of the landscape, its spirit and the authentic experiences available to guests here. / Credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station

It’s this storytelling aspect that is key to the visitor experience at Skytrek, and which can really leave a lasting impact on visitors.

“Tourism gives you the ability to socialise and be proud of something,” Michelle says. “Your product may put a smile on someone’s face and leave them with an unforgettable memory that they may still be talking about 20 years later. It’s an adventure that imprints on their minds, [something] that they may continue to tell their children about for the rest of their lives.

“That is something we can be proud of through this difficult drought.’

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The beautiful scenery surrounding the station. / Credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station

To find out more about Skytrek Willow Springs Station, check out their website or Facebook page.

 

[Header image credit: Skytrek Willow Springs Station]

 

 

GUEST POST: KANU KAPERS’ ECOTOURISM JOURNEY

Our ecotourism journey has been full of adventures and opportunities. We successfully applied for Advanced Ecotourism certification in 2018 so we could display our commitment to sustainability. We have always felt what we are doing is ‘bigger’ than our business of Noosa Everglades Kayak Tours. That said, we have a responsibility to protect sacred natural places and to educate our guests and other operators within our industry. Since we began the journey our business has grown in leaps and bounds and we have been inspired to further develop our sustainability and ecotourism practices.

Advanced Ecotourism Certified Kanu Kapers guest post

Operating kayak tours in a pristine natural area, it became apparent sustainability practices were needed to take us in to the future. Sustainability for Kanu Kapers means we can operate a successful and profitable business with little or no impact on this delicate eco system.

Established in 2002, our passion is to provide unique and awe-inspiring experiences to people of all ages, whilst promoting love and respect for nature and preserving the Noosa Everglades System for future generations to enjoy. Considered by Lonely Planet as ‘One of the most pristine water ways in the world!’, we feel privileged to have created a business where we share such an awesome Noosa day tour experience whilst educating our  guests from all over the world on sustainability and the cultural heritage of this special place we love so much.

Top of world 2 kayaks Kanu Kapers guest post 

Our Kayaks

Kanu Kapers’ kayaks are an integral component of our tours, designed and purchased with sustainability at our core. They leave no trace on this pristine waterway. They are locally handcrafted expedition sea kayaks that are comfortable, fast, sleek and stable. The kayaks are durable (the original four still in use today) and have a long water line and rudder system, allowing guests to enjoy the full extent of the Noosa Everglades 65km waterway in comfort with full kit and without the need for a motor.

Our Sustainable Kayak Adventures and Business Practices

Vision

Kanu Kapers continues to be recognised as the best sustainable adventure tour company in Australia. We will use our sustainability innovations – to inspire change for other businesses and help to implement solutions to environmental issues.

Applying for our accreditation inspired us to:

  • Implement recycling with vigour-including compost to grow fresh veggies
  • Become Plastic Free Champions by eradicating single use plastics from our operation
  • Work towards being carbon neutral by 2020. We continually strive to reduce our carbon footprint.

Every morning following our welcome to country we share with our guests Kanu Kapers’ commitment to sustainability. We then take the opportunity to educate our guests on their carbon emissions created by their drive from Noosa and give them the option to offset their carbon via a donation to our partners the Queensland Koala Crusaders. Our courtesy bus travels to Noosa and Sunshine Beach every morning to transport our day tour guests, so carbon offset is imperative as this is the only aspect which hampered us being carbon neutral. We believe due to the generous donations from our Noosa Day Tour and Multi Day Tour guests we have achieved our goal of being carbon neutral.

Our Partnership with The QLD Koala Crusaders

This has been our proudest and most important partnership innovation to date. The QLD Koala Crusaders (www.koalacrusaders.org.au) are on a mission to create safe koala habitat in QLD, in order to help improve koala numbers.

While educating our guests about delicate koala habitat we give them an opportunity to be Koala Heroes by offsetting their carbon and donating their gold coins to the QLD Koala Crusaders.

Koala Offset emissions Kanu Kapers guest post

How you can become an Ecotourism Hero

Anyone operating a tourism business or any business for that matter can make sustainability a priority. You can undertake a sustainability audit assessing your recycling practices and anything you do that harms the environment. Where can you reduce the use of harmful chemicals which damage our precious natural environment? Kanu Kapers Australia is a chemical free operation, using only natural cleaning and other products. We also switched to a carbon neutral power company. Is there a wildlife charity you can become partners with?

It feels good to operate sustainably and we have found our guest numbers have increased on our Noosa kayak tours because people are looking for clean green experiences.

 

Thank you to Kanu Kapers for sharing their ecotourism journey with us! To find out more about them, visit their website or Facebook page.

If you’re an Ecotourism Australia certified operator and you’ve been inspired to share your ecotourism journey in the world, get in touch