ECOTOURISM WINNERS AT QANTAS AUSTRALIAN TOURISM AWARDS

Ecotourism Australia certified operators have again been recognised at the 2021 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, representing more than 20 per cent of all award winners this year.

ECO Certified operators were represented across 10 of the 25 award categories, with gold awards won in the categories of Major Tour and Transport Operators, Adventure Tourism, Tourism and Marketing Campaigns, Hosted Accommodation, New Tourism Business and Ecotourism.

Red Cat Adventures QATA 2021

(Pictured: Red Cat Adventures win gold in Adventure Tourism category)

There were 32 nominations between the 26 Ecotourism Australia certified operators and two destination applicants named as finalists. In total, 13 operators and one destination applicant were recognised with six gold, six silver and four bronze awards.

“It’s great to see Australia’s leading sustainability-focused operators being recognised at the pinnacle awards for our industry,” said Ecotourism Australia’s CEO, Elissa Keenan. “The diversity of categories our members were nominated for was inspiring and demonstrates how important sustainable tourism is for the entire sector.  We were also delighted, but not surprised, to see every finalist in the Ecotourism Category was ECO Certified.

“We continue to see a major focus for sustainable tourism operations, and we are proud the certifications of Ecotourism Australia maintain world’s best practice in this regard. An increasing number of operators, as well as destinations, are seeking ECO Certification to uphold best practice in sustainability.

“After the challenges of the past two years, Australia’s tourism operators have remained hopeful and determined, and these awards are a testament to the perseverance and community of the tourism industry as we now look to the future.”

Recognised in multiple awards were ECO Certified operators Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (Wilson’s Promontory Cruises) with two gold (New Tourism Business and Major Tour and Transport Operators) and Red Cat Adventures with one gold and one silver (Adventure Tourism and Major Tour and Transport Operator).

Pennicott QATA 2021

(Pictured: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys win gold for Major Tour and Transport Operator)

These successes reaffirm the remarkably high calibre of Ecotourism operators across the country and the resilience and determination of tourism businesses considering the challenges of the past two years.

 

Congratulations to our ECO Certified award winners:

Major Tourist Attractions

Silver – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (QLD)

Bronze – Taronga Western Plains Zoo (NSW)

Tourist Attractions

Bronze – Oakvale Wildlife Park (NSW)

Ecotourism

Gold – Live Ningaloo (WA)

Silver – Murray River Trails (SA)

Bronze – Tasmanian Walking Company (TAS)

Cultural Tourism

Silver – Venture North Safaris (NT)

Major Tour and Transport Operators

Gold – Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (TAS)

Silver – Red Cat Adventures (QLD)

Tour and Transport Operators

Silver – The Hike Collective (WA)

Bronze – Uluru Camel Tours (NT)

Adventure Tourism

Gold – Red Cat Adventures (QLD)

Silver – Bendleby Ranges (SA)

Tourism Marketing and Campaigns

Gold – Gippsland: All Kinds of Wonder (VIC)

Hosted Accommodation

Gold – Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat (QLD)

New Tourism Business

Gold – Wilson’s Promontory Cruises (Pennicott Wilderness Journeys) (VIC)

 

DOLPHIN DISCOVERY CENTRE STORMCHASERS SAVING THE PLANET ONE PIECE OF RUBBISH AT A TIME

Out to make a difference and help keep our country litter-free is the Dolphin Discovery Centre (DDC) in Bunbury, Western Australia, with their recent Storm Chasers Program. Volunteers from the local community and staff of the DDC come together whenever there has been a storm to clear the beach of litter and debris, keeping the environment clean and protecting local wildlife. Every month, these volunteers clear hundreds of kilometres of coastline, bushland and forests of litter while also monitoring for wildlife in need of help such as sea turtles, birdlife, seals, and dolphins.

Stormchasers

Through their partnership with the Perth Zoo and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the DDC can assist in the rescue, recovery, and release of distressed and injured animals, such as the endangered Loggerhead Turtle, that they find during their beach clean-up. Since being tagged, 24 Loggerheads are currently due for release in late February/March; a testament to the necessity of this initiative to locate and rescue stranded marine life.

This coordinated community clean-up also provides essential data to national databases, such as Tangaroa Blue and Keep Australia Beautiful, by asking volunteers to take photos of the area and record information. Uploading this data aids with research efforts to fight pollution at its cause. After photos are taken, the waste is disposed of in onsite bins for appropriate waste management and recycling. The DDC also recently acquired a grant to help expand the Stormchaser Program by purchasing bags, gloves, and pick-up tools for volunteers to use, as well as a trailer to help transport the rubbish.

Stormchasers kit

Through educational videos and raising awareness, the DDC has helped to create a movement that is growing larger by the week. On Clean Up Australia Day 2021, the centre saw over 80 people clean up 40 kilometres of beach and this year they are hoping to go bigger and better! But this Storm Chasers Initiative is not just for big occasions; it is a project the community can undertake on any day to do their bit for the environment. Picking up rubbish is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to make a difference and protect the planet.

The DDC has also established a Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Environment Fund to support their vital conservation, education and research programs via donations and fundraising activities. Other important activities undertaken by the organisation include coral propagation and artificial reef seeding, marine education, and rescue and rehabilitation projects.

Campaigns such as the Stormchaser Program are a great way to get involved in your local community and help Keep Australia Beautiful. If you would like to find out more about their conservation initiatives, join the Stormchasers Program or make a contribution, contact the Dolphin Discovery Centre by email at [email protected] or check out their website here

Image credit: Dolphin Discovery Centre

NAVEZE LATEST TO JOIN ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA FAMILY

Naveze is a digital way-finding app for indoor and outdoor experiences that empowers visitors to make their own way through a site or destination, including showgrounds, public gardens, and sports venues. Through inclusion of points of interest like carparks and toilets, Naveze can help to enhance the overall visitor experience through personalised service. Satellite and street views, estimated travel times, detailed direction and accessibility routes are additional key aspects of the mapping technology that help to set Naveze apart.

Naveze is a tool that is suited to tourism organisations and experience-driven sites, where stories are often told by travelling and navigating the area and where connection with surroundings is of importance.

To find out more about how Naveze works, visit their website or check out this short video.

WELCOME DOEPEL MARSH ARCHITECTS + PLANNERS TO ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA

Our newest business member is seeking to pave the way for sustainability in the design industry – welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family Doepel Marsh Architects + Planners!

With 35 years of practice across 12 industry sectors, including residential, commercial, health care and hospitality, Doepel Marsh Architects + Planners have established themselves as a popular boutique firm in Subiaco, WA. The company maintains an international client base and prides itself on its Imagine, Challenge, Solve creative process.

Where possible, plans are designed to integrate with the natural landscape and setting for a cohesive look. Additionally, consideration is put towards ensuring cultural significance of, and any potential Indigenous artifacts at, the site are protected.

To discover more about Doepel Marsh Architects + Planners, head to their website or get in touch.

S.LI.DES. project aims at fostering cross border cooperation among cultural destinations

The project involved eleven partners: five tourism cities (the Cities of Venice and Bari and SIPRO Ferrara in Italy, DURA in Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board in Sibenik) and six technical partners: Ca’ Foscari University Venice–Dept of Management as Lead Partner; three international tourism and mobility research centres (CISET and CAST in Italy and Turizam in Croatia) and two training bodies with an expertise in craftsmanship and handicrafts (Ecipa in Italy and the Craft college of Rijeka in Croatia).

ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WITH THEIR ALL-FEMALE TEAM

International Women’s Day (IWD) offers all of us a chance to reflect on the progress made for and by women and to recognise the path left to walk towards true global gender equality. UN Women has declared the theme for 2022 is Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow – a theme that appreciates the contributions of women and girls around the world, who are leading the way in changing the climate of gender inequality and creating a sustainable future. This is of particular importance as women and girls are more vulnerable to climate-related disasters and yet are largely ignored in developing solutions. It is important to recognise that International Women’s Day is a day for celebration and is also a day to call to action.

Female employment in tourism is relatively high compared to other industries, 2018 figures showed 54.8% of tourism and hospitality employees in Australia were female. However, despite representative employment, there are still clear inequalities for women in tourism to overcome. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact across the tourism industry, female employees were hit harder than their male counterparts. According to Tourism Research Australia, jobs held by women declined by 21%, compared with a 14% decline for jobs held by men, over the first six months of 2020. As we emerge into a new chapter of the pandemic and Australian tourism, with international travellers returning to our shores, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women in our industry.

This International Women’s Day, Ecotourism Australia would like to spotlight the incredible women on our team. For the first time in our 30-year history, Ecotourism Australia has an all-female team, CEO and chair of the board. This is an astounding achievement and something we take great pride in. Why don’t we take a moment to get to know the wonderful women at EA and reflect on what International Women’s Day means to them?

 

Shea 1

Shea, Membership Coordinator

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. Apart from the purpose-driven work we do, I really value the team culture. There is so much support, guidance and understanding between us and I always feel like no matter what happens the management team has got your back.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. The management team has got so much experience under their belt and each of them inspires me for different reasons as they each have unique strengths and qualities. In saying that, the younger less experienced members of the team are also inspirational as they are hungry for success and their enthusiasm and motivation certainly adds to the great office vibe.  

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. Women have had to work so hard to be recognised as being equal, especially in the business world. The fact that women are faced with choices regarding family and, more often than not, are required to manage the balance between these two ‘hats’, is an extra challenge that requires strength and perseverance to manage. It is great to have a day that recognises how far we have come and highlights what we still need to achieve.  

 

Q. What’s a message you would send to young women wanting to get their start in the industry?

A. I have started at the bottom on more than one occasion and so my advice is to not be afraid to dig in and start work in roles that are perhaps not your first choice. By staying focused on your end goal, while proving yourself to be consistently reliable and hardworking, you will find you are well on your way to achieving your goals.

 

Katie 1

Katie, Communications and Marketing Coordinator

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. My favourite part about working at EA is the opportunities the company gives to young tourism professionals to expand their skillset and immerse themselves in the industry. Through EA, I have grounded myself in ecotourism values and my passion for eco and nature-based tourism sustainability has only grown.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. The passion and dedication of my colleagues inspires me every day. To witness the ripple effect of the team’s work throughout Australia, which is reflected in EA’s new brand, motivates me to challenge myself and reach my potential.

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. Without the work of women before us, I wouldn’t have access to or be able to pursue the wide range of opportunities that have given me purpose and are shaping my life. Celebrating International Women’s Day is a chance to acknowledge the work of changemaking women throughout history and understand that there is still a way to go to achieve change.

 

Q. What’s a message you would send to young women wanting to get their start in the industry?

A. Imposter syndrome is real! Remember that you deserve to be where you are, and your contribution matters.

 

Nadine 3

Nadine, Certification Manager

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. The team and culture at EA. EA’s success is driven by a team of dedicated and passionate people who all share the same values and goals. We have created a work environment in which great ideas can happen, where we celebrate each other’s wins and support each other through challenging times. EA is like a second family to me.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. There are so many wonderful and inspirational women that inspire me in my career and life. I admire anyone who stands up for what they believe in, even if it means standing alone. People with high moral integrity who are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Just to name a few examples:

– Michelle Obama

– Melinda Gates

– Malala Yousafzai

– Grace Tame & Brittany Higgins

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. It’s an annual reminder that whilst we are making progress, we have not achieved equality. Gender discrimination and the gender pay gap are only some of the issues that come to mind. It is also an awesome chance to celebrate women’s achievements and empower each other!

 

Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

A. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone! It’s the only way to grow and learn.

 

Alyssa 3

Alyssa, Relationships Manager

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. Working with people who care about the world like I do and want to be part of tourism’s positive impact on the people and planet.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. Too many to choose! Many of the women in my work life are role models to me – many showing me that women can kick career goals too! Including the EA Board Directors, previous bosses, fellow colleagues and close friends I have made through the job.

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. Women so often are facing a great number of challenges at any one time, including competitiveness and judgement from fellow women, it’s important for us to lift each other up rather than tear each other down. This day is a reminder for us to practice support of another every other day of the year.

 

Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

A. Do what you love and you won’t need to work a day in your life. No point wasting the majority of your life on something you don’t enjoy or feel fulfilled by.

 

Fay headshot

Fay, Accounts Manager

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. Being part of a great team.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. I value each individual member of the team and therefore, you are all an inspiration and role model to me.

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. I see Women’s Day as a celebration and it emphasises where women are today, both in society and work, and clarifies that we are making our mark in the ever-challenging cause to have equal standing with the male race.

 

Q. What’s a message you would send to young women wanting to get their start in the industry?

A. Fully feel your right to have and to seek the same remuneration and recognition as the male species.

 

Shannon

Shannon, Certification Coordinator

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. My favourite part about working at EA is being able to work in a team of passionate and intelligent women who inspire me every day. They have all taught me so much about how to be kinder to the planet and the people we share it with.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. Jane Goodall!

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. I think it’s important to celebrate Women’s Day so that we can acknowledge the strength, tenacity, and diversity of women both in and outside the workplace.

 

Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

A. Seize every opportunity because you never know where it might lead!

 

Lina Cronin headshot

Lina, Communications and Marketing Manager

Q. What’s your favourite part about working at EA?

A. Working with passionate operators and being part of something bigger than myself.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. All mothers!

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. There are so many women who have walked before us to break down barriers and stereotypes, and fight for equal recognition and inclusion. These women deserve to be celebrated, and so do the successes we have had since then. However, spotlighting the areas in which we still need to push for change is also important, and International Women’s Day does both.

 

Q. What’s a message you would send to young women wanting to get their start in the industry?

A. Start somewhere, even if you don’t feel ready. Every step on your journey will help you in some way, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the newest addition to our EA family…

 

 20220113Elissa Keenan 0232edit

Elissa Keenan, Chief Executive Officer

Q. What are you most looking forward to with starting at EA?

A. I am looking forward to meeting our members and understanding their individual tourism products and services and how Ecotourism Australia can continue to represent their interests; and I am looking forward to reconnecting with many familiar faces in tourism across Australia. It is an exciting time for our industry – we will recover from a tumultuous few years and both domestic and international visitors will continue to seek nature based and sustainable tourism experiences. Ecotourism Australia has a reputation as one of the most respected industry bodies in the world and this is an amazing opportunity to lead this team as we enter this new phase of tourism growth in Australia.

 

Q. Is there anyone you see as an inspiration or role model?

A. I am inspired by many people and for many different reasons. I am drawn to people who believe in themselves, are brave and take chances, are authentic and find a path that makes them happy. I am inspired by many people but there are a couple of aspirational female leaders that have positively impacted my career. Marion Charlton, the Chief Operating Officer of Queensland Airports Limited, is a role model not only for her amazing success but for her drive and determination. Michelle Bennetts, Chief Service Delivery Officer at Airservices Australia is the most authentic leader I have ever met. They are both strong, considered, credible leaders, extremely supportive of their teams, and lead by examples themselves. 

 

Q. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

A. International Women’s Day is an important way to promote and profile that women can achieve what they desire. And that they always deserve to be safe, to be respected and be treated equally. The opportunity to demonstrate to young women and girls the roles and careers they can aspire to is powerful and I know I am always inspired by stories of other women’s journeys.

 

Q. Do you have any advice for women seeking leadership roles in the industry?

A. Having mentors throughout your career can really help. It is important to have people that will support, listen and can offer a different perspective and who can give you feedback, coaching and constructive feedback when you need it. If there is someone you look up to or are inspired by, reach out to them. It can be daunting but you may be surprised just how many people will support you. Similarly, be generous with your time and be willing to mentor others as you can make a real and positive difference to someone else’s journey. 

 

There are definitely still strides to make towards complete gender equality, but the contributions of women such as these are paving the way to a more equitable future in the industry.

 

Sources:

UN Women

https://unwomen.org.au/get-involved/international-womens-day/

Tourism Research Australia

https://www.tra.gov.au/data-and-research/reports/national-tourism-satellite-account-2019-20/national-tourism-satellite-account-2019-20

Tourism Dashboard

https://www.tourismdashboard.org/explore-the-data/gender-equity/#:~:text=Insights,male%20employment%20in%20the%20sector.

 

Further reading:

International Women’s Day

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/about

One Girl

https://www.onegirl.org.au/our-impact/climate-change