Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.
2020 has proven a critical time for the tourism industry. With the massive disruption through the bushfires of 2019 followed by the universally devastating impact of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to come together, draw on the collective strengths to re-assess, reflect and recover.
Now in its 28th year, the conference drew on the theme “Revolution, Driving Evolution” and opened up the opportunity to take stock, review and reassess the industry and its path forward, giving voice to a diversity of players who offer fresh and innovative industry perspectives.
Due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Global Eco offered for the first time both live and virtual attendance options. Additionally, a total of five applicant ECO Destinations across the country played host to the live streamed program as a mini conference ‘satellite node’ for their region.
Over three days, more than 220 delegates representing all states of Australia and five different countries heard from leaders and innovators in ecotourism academia, industry and governance.
Day 1 at Global Eco 2020 kicked off with delegates and attendees tuning in to the HEART, Margaret River from right across the country. Bundaberg, QLD’s satellite node hosted a “Launch into Ecotourism” breakfast as a networking opportunity for their attendees.
Delegates were inspired by Craig Wickham (Exceptional Kangaroo Island) and the audience took stock on ‘Surviving the Impacts of Natural Disasters and Pandemics’ with Amy Carter-James and Lee Miezis (Bushfire Recovery Victoria) and Sonia Beckwith (Live Ningaloo). Later in the day, insights were gained from the CEO Forum featuring Peter Sharp (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA), Lisa Shreeve (Busselton Jetty), Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Phillipa Harrison (Tourism Australia).
Day 2 of the conference saw continued activity in the satellite nodes on the Central Coast (NSW), Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD), Bundaberg (QLD) and Townsville (QLD). Coffs Coast joined in, streaming Day 2 from the C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
The morning kicked off with two morning parallel plenary sessions: ‘Ecotourism Post COVID-19’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism.
After lunch came the ‘Inspire’ keynote, delivered by Gary Muir (WOW Wilderness Ecocruises). Gary Muir was recognised as an Eco-guide in 1998 when the Global Eco Conference was last held in Margaret River. Now, 22 years later, he has built an incredible career, having delivered his special brand of environmental interpretation to thousands of people as an ecotourism operator and educator.
Innes Larkin (Mt Barney Lodge), Rod Quartermain (Tina Smitherman Consultants) and Dr Erika Jacobson (Edgewalkers) spoke in the ‘Forum of Revolutionary Ideas’.
The last session of the day focussed on ‘New Alliances, New Paths’ and featured Professor Ross Dowling AM (Edith Cowan University) Professor Brent Ritchie (The University of Queensland) and Louise Cashmore (Origins Market).
To top it off, conference delegates in Western Australia enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Voyager Estate in the Margaret River region, and attendees of the Coffs Coast satellite node finished the day with industry networking drinks.
Day 3 began with two morning parallel plenary streams ‘Evolving Ecotourism and ECO Destinations’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism. Additionally, the attendees of the Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD) satellite node experienced an insightful cultural tour of Goompi (Dunwich).
The afternoon session focussed on Indigenous Ecotourism and featured Cameron Costello (Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation), Rosie Sandover and Rebecca Sampi (Kingfisher Tours); and Robert Taylor (WAITOC).
Anna Pollock presented virtually from the United Kingdom providing the third and final of our ‘Inspire’ keynotes. Anna is known around the world for her 40+ years’ work in sustainable tourism and her Conscious Travel movement. At Global Eco, she spoke about regenerative tourism.
Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Dermot O’Gorman (WWF-Australia) discussed the topic of ‘Evolving Ecotourism’ in the last keynote session before the conference close.
To view the presentations given at this years’ Global Eco Conference, click here.
Ecotourism Australia gratefully acknowledges the contributions from Major Host Sponsors; Tourism Western Australia and the Government of Western Australia, Host Sponsors; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, South West Development Commission, Destination Partners Business Events Perth and Margaret River HEART.
The Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference, the premier event of Ecotourism Australia, will be held 1-3 December 2020 in Margaret River, Western Australia. Now in its 28th year, it’s no coincidence that Global Eco attracts the world’s leading ecotourism operators, protected area managers and tourism professionals.
Photo: Cape to Cape Explorer Tours]
The spectacular Margaret River Region welcomes travellers from around the world like no other destination in Australia. A pleasant three-hour drive south of Perth, Western Australia’s premier holiday region offers a unique range of pristine natural attractions, premium wineries and craft breweries, fine restaurants, handmade arts & crafts, unspoiled beaches, towering karri forests and friendly locals. Blessed with a mild Mediterranean maritime climate, the four seasons are gently defined in this relaxed and soulful corner of the country.
[Photo: Forest Rise Eco Retreat]
Margaret River is the name of a river, a town and a region. The region has an extensive coastline with 110 kilometres of beaches, bays and rocky points. The Margaret River region comprises rural countryside, sandy beaches, native forests and national parks. It’s this diversity which has put the region on the map.
[Photo: Right Foot Forward WA]
See the list below for Margaret River and Busselton Region ECO certified tourism operators and accommodation providers to check out while you are in the area!
Cover image: Busselton Jetty
Ten of Australia’s leading nature-based tourism businesses were inducted into Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame this month, recognised for being ECO certified for 20 years.
The new inductees join 25 other ecotourism businesses in the Hall of Fame.
Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman acknowledged this year’s awardees as some of Australia’s leading operators in ecotourism. “Their longevity and continued success, particularly in light of unprecedented industry challenges, is testament to their innovative spirits, continued commitment to sustainable business practices, and dedication to benefiting the communities and environments in which they operate,” he said.
Owners of Hall of Fame business Cruise Maroochy, Kate and Denis proudly referred to their 20 years of ECO certification as a “badge of honour”.
”While 2020 has been a hard, we are now busy introducing brand new ECO cruises to a captivated domestic market,” she said. Kate emphasised the importance of Cruise Maroochy’s ECO certification in proving quality and authenticity to locals and travellers alike.
Moonshadow Cruises Business Operations Manager James Mcarthur highlighted the importance of their ecotourism credentials.
“The public have become so much more aware and informed on environmental issues and it is a privilege to be able to educate people through ecotourism,” he said. “The desire for more nature-based products has increased exponentially over the years and I believe it will continue to become more prominent in the future. We look forward to being a part of that growth.”
When asked how their business values align with their ECO certification, Araucaria Ecotours owner Ronda Green highlighted “nature appreciation, education, conservation, and the protection of biodiversity” as primary business motives.
Ronda said she is excited by emerging opportunities in the industry. “In addition to our original tours we plan to diversify our business, emphasising education, nature activities, and study camps for amateur naturalists,” she said
Ecotourism Australia’s 2020 Hall of Fame entrants include:
• Araucaria Ecotours (QLD)
• Broken River Mountain Resort (QLD)
• Capricorn Caves (QLD)
• Cruise Maroochy Eco Tours (QLD)
• Daintree River Cruise Centre (QLD)
• Imagine Cruises – Port Stephens (NSW)
• Kingfisher Cruises (VIC)
• Moonshadow Cruises – TQC (NSW)
• Sailaway (QLD)
• Tread Lightly Eco Tours (NSW)
For questions and comments, please contact:
Ingrid Huitema – Communications and Marketing, Ecotourism Australia
0408 112 728 / [email protected]