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.
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.
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.
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.
Once again, congratulations to Barefoot Tours and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia community!
[All photos courtesy of Barefoot Tours’ website and Facebook page]