Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

EVERYDAY ECOTOURISM HEROES EDITION 10: CHRISTOPHER WARREN

True heroes are the ones who not only have great ideas, but are willing to share these ideas with others, knowing that they’ll benefit too.

That’s what Crystal Creek Meadows’ Christopher Warren is like – he invented a sustainability management system for tourism accommodations which allows financial savings to be directed straight into nature conservation. How? It uses real-time resource use data and gives guests practical tips on how to save on energy and water.

Crystal Creek meadows garden

Chris says the system – called My Green Butler – took years to develop and be ready for market – in fact, it took five years of research and development, using Crystal Creek Meadows as a test site. This research and testing culminated in doctorate research, which provided evidence that visitors to destinations can be persuaded to reduce their consumption.

“The big idea behind [My Green Butler] is to explain that resource conservation, not eco-efficient technologies or renewable energy alone, should be a key strategy to reduce carbon emissions to internationally agreed levels,” explained Chris.

Crystal Creak Meadows kitchen

He goes on to note that resource conservation through behaviour adaptation can empower hosts and guests to reduce their energy and water use by using climate change adaptation.

Chris is so dedicated to sharing this message that he’s has published 13 scientific papers on the topic, created a short video explaining how My Green Butler works and is currently writing an easy-to-read self-help book for accommodation managers to identify ways to conserve resources and persuade their guests to do the same.

“Efficiency and renewables are not adequate to help prevent escalating global warming and extreme weather events which impact wildlife and their habitats,” Christopher notes. He says eco-efficient technologies do not change people’s behaviour and that we’re unlikely to have sufficient quantities of renewables to replace fossil fuels in time for target carbon emission reduction dates.

Crystal Creek Meadows rose garden master bedroom

Christopher’s implementation of the Green Butler System at his own accommodation business, Crystal Creek Meadows, has resulted in a massive reduction in carbon emissions, from 50 tonnes a year to just 15. The property itself has also been rejuvenated, resulting in a growth in bird species from 20 to 100 and a return of the local wombat population.

So what do his staff and guests think?

“Everyone at Crystal Creek Meadows has been involved in the development of My Green Butler,” Chris notes, “whether they’re the cleaner or a business partner.” He says this brings a diversity of perspectives, encourages a more holistic solution to challenges and enables everyone to take ownership of the program.

Crystal Creek Meadows hero photo fb

And guests, who are motivated by persuasive face-to-face interaction with passionate staff and a daily advice sheet and web app, seem more than willing to comply – especially when they know that all fiscal savings are donated to two local wildlife caring charities.

“Ecotourism is considered the pinnacle of sustainable tourism and therefore has a leadership role for all tourism to promote and celebrate innovative methods to progress the entire sector to a far higher level of climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Chris says.

Crystal Creek Meadows cherry blossoms FB

We couldn’t agree more!

For more information on Crystal Creek Meadows, visit their website or Facebook page. For more information about My Green Butler, check out MyGreenButler.com.

For more information on our other Everyday Ecotourism Heroes, check out the other articles in this series:

Crystal Creak Meadows field FB

Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!

Have we piqued your interest in travelling sustainably? Make sure you check out our Green Travel Guide and news page for some eco travel inspiration!

9 ACCESSIBLE, ECO CERTIFIED EXPERIENCES YOU CAN’T MISS

Some travel for adventure, others travel to relax – whatever your reason, I think we can all agree it should be accessible for everyone! We’ve compiled a list of some of our absolute favourite locations and activities that are suitable for varying accessibility levels, wants and needs.

Tours

1. Cooinda Lodge Kakadu

 For one of the most authentic Australian travel experiences your heart could desire, you cannot go past Kakadu. Listed as a World Heritage Area for its natural and cultural heritage, Kakadu is one of the world’s greatest nature reserves. Cooinda Lodge Kakadu attracts visitors with a variety of interests for its dazzling bird life, crocodile spotting, guided cruises and proximity to Kakadu’s magnificent waterways and falls. If you’re looking for a real Kakadu experience that caters to your needs, look no further than a stay at the Cooinda Lodge. Pair your stay with a nature filled experience with Yellow Water Cruise. Both the cruises and accommodation have wheelchair access and staff to assist with what you need.

Find out more here.

 Accessibility Article Kakadu Cruise

 Kakadu Cruise Photo: Kakadu Nation Park

2. Rottnest Express

Home of the humble (but famous!) quokka, Rottnest is a must-see destination, and no one has to miss out! Rottnest Island sits just a leisurely cruise off the Fremantle coast of WA. Rottnest Express have facilities to ensure that everyone can experience what this spectacular location has to offer. Most of their vessels have wheelchair access and priority boarding. Simply contact the company and they will suggest and sort out the most appropriate tour for you and your requirements. Too easy!

Find out more here.

 Accessibility Article Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island Photo: Rottnest Express

3. Wildlife Coast Cruises

 If you’ve never considered seeing Phillip Island, you probably should. Wildlife Coast Cruises caters for everyone with sunset cruises, dolphin cruises, whale cruises and seal cruises (see, we really mean everyone). If you’re going to do Phillip Island, there is no better company for you. Wildlife Coast Cruises pride themselves on making all their experiences inclusive for all abilities. Accessible parking, wheelchair access, seating on jetty and boat decks, accessible toilets with additional room and grab handles, and heavily discounted tickets for companion and care card holders are all available.

Find out more here.

Accommodation

4. Cape Byron Trust: Mildenhall Cottage

Mildenhall Cottage offers the perfect location to those who love nature and privacy. This is a particularly stunning holiday destination, showcasing Byron’s sensational beaches and hinterland vistas. This location provides accessibility with wheelchair access and accessible bathrooms. You can relax comfortably on the deck, watching the sun set over the hinterland, listening to the sound of waves crashing on surrounding beaches.

Find out more here.

 Accessibility Cape Byron

The Lighthouse Precinct, Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer

5. Apollo Bay Eco YHA

Who says being on a budget means compromising? The Apollo Bay Eco YHA provides quality budget accommodation on the famous Great Ocean Road. Room types vary to your preference with wheelchair access available – simply notify staff before booking. The accommodation is situated in a beautiful natural environment, with indigenous flora and a garden that allows for the picking of your own herbs. Apollo Bay Eco YHA is the perfect hostel for you to explore this diverse region that plays host to the rugged Victorian coastline and a lush green rainforest.

Find out more here.

6. Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat

 Now you’ve never seen a treehouse like this before. Set high among the trees, the award-winning Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat provides for accessibility and luxury all in one. You can explore the natural wonders of the New South Wales Coast, or maybe just pamper yourself with a glass of champagne in front of the fire. The airwalks to the private treehouses provide for an easy, flat wheelchair friendly access. Each treehouse is purposely designed with wheelchairs in mind.  

Find out more here.

Experience

7. Seal Bay Conservation Park

If you’ve ever considered visiting South Australia, it is obvious that Kangaroo Island is a must. Seal Bay Conservation Park is the heart of Kangaroo Island, and the only place in the world where you can get amongst a breeding colony of endangered Australian sea lions. The wheelchair-accessible boardwalk provides incredible views of the coastline, sea lion colony, dune system, and pristine sandy beach.

Find out more here.

 Accessibility Article Seals

Photo: South Australia Department of Environment

8. Tilligerry Habitat

All levels of access are invited to enjoy the unique experience that is the Tilligerry Habitat Self-Guided Sensory Walk. Visitors are encouraged to use all their senses to experience the native landscape as the wheelchair accessible path allows for look, touch, taste and smell points along the way. With other great facilities like a visitor center and nursery, this is a great way to experience the sandy New South Wales foreshore.

Find out more here.

9. Adventure Bay Charters Shark Diving

Now this one isn’t for the faint hearted. Adventure Bay Charters offers everyone the opportunity to tick one off the bucket list with their cage diving experience. The Aqua Sub is designed for maximum inclusion and comfort while you are able to observe the Great White shark in its natural habitat. So, what are you waiting for?

Find out more here.

10. Moonlit Sanctuary

At the top of the Mornington Peninsula, on your way to Phillip Island is Melbourne’s award winning wildlife park, Moonlit Sanctuary. You are invited to explore 10 hectares of bush-land, feeding kangaroos and wallabies, petting koalas and experiencing encounters with birds, reptiles, dingoes and endangered species. The main attraction however, is the world-famous lantern-lit tours at night. Discover animals you may never see anywhere else! Access is available to all ability levels so why not try something new?

Find out more here.

If you are looking for more information and more fantastic easy access travel ideas, please check out our excellent business partners, The Good Scout Travel Co.

Global Travelers prefer eco-friendly accommodation: Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2019

Global Travelers prefer eco-friendly accommodation: Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2019 70% of global travelers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not. However, when it comes to recognizing a sustainable place to stay, almost three quarters (72%) of […]

The post Global Travelers prefer eco-friendly accommodation: Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2019 appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS WANT SUSTAINABLE, CERTIFIED EXPERIENCES: A WRAP UP OF ATE 2019

Innovative sustainability initiatives, a demand for operators serious about climate action and the continued development of high-quality tourism products were key themes at this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Perth.

ATE, held for the 40th time this April 8-12 in the Western Australian capital, attracted over 2,000 delegates from over 30 countries, including 600 wholesale and retail buyers and 546 seller companies. Among them were 110 of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators.

40612720433 60d16b32e9 o

“We were really impressed with our members at this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange,” said Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman, who met with 50 certified sellers and various other key industry partners during the week-long event.

“The 110 [certified operators] who attended made up almost a quarter of all our certified operators. These businesses are consistently ahead of the game when it comes to tackling today’s biggest challenges.”

These challenges include a growing demand for sustainability from the market (both in terms of sustainable operators and sustainable destinations); increasing awareness of the need for urgent climate action and a demand for credible, transparent, responsible product and marketing that counters greenwashing.

33718472898 c311a9dbc1 o

Ecotourism Australia’s Communications Manager Lina Cronin, who attended ATE with Rod Hillman, said she left feeling inspired by the way certified operators are doing business:

“It’s been amazing. All week, we’ve had conversations with our operators – many of whom are Australian Tourism Award winners – and we’ve left our meetings impressed by the quality of their products, inspired by their genuine passion for doing business in a way that protects the environment and cultures on which they depend, and excited about what the future holds in store as the demand for certified and sustainable products continues to grow.”

46673086955 da00a15e44 o

It is this demand for certified products and responsible operators that Rod Hillman says was more visible than ever at this year’s ATE.

“We spoke to many sellers – some certified and not – who agreed that the demand for sustainable products from international buyers was higher than ever before this year. There seems to be a real shift in the market happening and it’s coming out of Europe and to a lesser extent the USA, where consumers see issues around sustainability and climate change as key decisions in choosing a tour operator and a destination.

“It’s great to see that our operators are really pushing ahead in this regard, with initiatives like measuring and offsetting carbon, choosing renewable energy sources and designing new conservation programs becoming the norm, rather than the exception.”

40622561713 b9fd20da82 o

With Tourism Australia’s continued focus on marketing Australia’s best nature and wildlife, aquatic and coastal experiences, Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators – and the passionate people which drive them – are perfectly positioned to service the needs of an increasingly eco-savvy and demanding market which expects Australia to continue to deliver world-class nature-based experiences for its visitors.

For more information about Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators, visit the Green Travel Guide.

For more information about Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs, please visit the Ecotourism Australia website.

For more information about the Australian Tourism Exchange, including details for ATE 2020, please visit the Tourism Australia website.

 

[Photos: Tourism Australia]

WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST BUSINESS MEMBER, LEISURE AND TOURISM SOLUTIONS PTY LTD.

We would like to give a big warm welcome to our newest Business Member, Leisure and Tourism Solutions Pty Ltd.

Leisure and Tourism Solutions Pty Ltd (LATS) provides tourism organisations with a proven approach that ensures results in the competitive export market. With more than 30 years’ experience in Australia’s international tourism sector, owners George Josevski and Polly Gibson work very closely with most Victorian regional bodies including Parks Victoria, Tourism Victoria and VTIC, and are members of the Lynette Bergin Selection Panel. You may recognise George and Polly from Advanced Ecotourism certified Bunyip Tours!

George Josevski and Polly Gibson

 The LATS team is credited for their passions, innovation and resilience within the Victorian tourism industry. With director George Josevski & Polly Gibson at the helm, LATS draws on extensive experience within international tourism markets and wide-ranging industry networks to build clients’ capability and success.

LATS takes a fresh approach for their clients from marketing strategies and planning to implementation, representation and product development. The team offers practical solutions to ensure businesses connect and convert to a diverse range of international visitor markets.

LATS trade show image

To find out more about Leisure and Tourism Solution Pty Ltd, please visit their website.

To find out how your business can become an Ecotourism Australia Business Member, please visit our membership website.

[Photos from LATS website]

Condé Nast Traveler Recommends GSTC

Condé Nast Traveler Recommends GSTC “Aside from air travel, properties have some of the greatest impacts in terms of energy use and food.” Check a hotel’s website for a “Responsible Travel,” “Environment,” or “Good Stewards” section—if they’ve spent time, energy, and money to be low-impact, they’ll likely have this information displayed – says Jim Sano, WWF​’s […]

The post Condé Nast Traveler Recommends GSTC appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas?

The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas? From Thailand to Bali, a huge increase in tourists, many from China and other rapidly developing economies, is straining sensitive ecosystems to the breaking point. Some countries are trying to control the boom, with a few closing popular destinations to allow damaged […]

The post The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas? appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

WHY EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY

This year’s Earth Day marks 49 years since millions of Americans took to the streets to protest for environmental reform in the wake of a growing ecological and environmental concern. These peaceful protestors from schools (sound familiar?), universities and communities were becoming increasingly aware of the impact industrialisation had had on the world around them: oil spills, increasing air pollution and loss of biodiversity.

Earth Day Network 2

Photo: Earth Day Network

In the half-century that followed, 1 billion people across 192 countries joined the movement, and Earth Day today is celebrated annually in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. Every year on April 22, people plant trees, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, clean up their local neighbourhoods and march for change.

In 2019, Earth Day’s theme is Protect our Species, a subject that seems very timely given the global decline in biodiversity. This decline has been linked to climate change, the growing human population, continued habitat destruction, chemical pollution, invasive species, trafficking and poaching and unsustainable agriculture. It’s an issue which the Earth Day Network, who coordinates Earth Day activities around the world, is tackling head-on:

Earth Day TAsmanian Devil Oakvale

Photo: ECO Certified Oakvale Farm & Fauna World is a family-owned and operated business committed to educating visitors about Australia’s native wildlife and how to protect it.

“The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed,” says the Earth Day Network’s website, “and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now [emphasis added] to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.”

Earth Day Eye to Eye Marine Encounters

Photo: Advanced Ecotourism Certified Eye to Eye Marine Encounters teams up with world-class marine scientists to offer the ultimate in adventure diving on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Every trip they run provides free space to researchers in the belief that research = awareness = conservation & sustainable management. 

To do this, Earth Day 2019 seeks to bring together those willing to stand for the future of our planet to educate others and raise awareness, work toward major policy shifts, take part in a global movement which embraces nature and its values and take individual ownership and action to contribute to real change.

Earth Day Tolga Bat Hospital

Photo: The Tolga Bat Hospital is a community group that works for the conservation of bats and their habitat through rescue and landcare work, advocacy, education and research. Their Advanced Ecotourism Certified visitor centre is open all year round.

This is all well and good, but is it enough? We all know what it’s like to get caught up in the moment of an exciting event – you feel inspired, fired up, ready to stand up for what you believe in and demand change. But what happens when the social media posts stop and the protesters go home? When the Earth Day celebrations finish for another year and you wake up the next morning, ready to rebegin the daily grind?

What are we really doing, every day, to protect our beautiful planet, demand change and – to continue this year’s theme – protect our earth’s incredible biodiversity?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Rethink your consumption:
    • Shop mindfully. Think: Do I really need that product? Does it have a negative impact on the environment? Is there an environmentally-friendly alternative?
    • Choose certified businesses for your holidays and choose zoos which have conservation programs in place
    • Buy fruit and veggies from local farmers and talk to them about their farming practices
    • Buy organic when possible – the avoidance of pesticides is better for your health and for wildlife
  • Reduce your carbon footprint:
    • Swap your lightbulbs for efficient CFLs or LEDs
    • Turn off lights and appliances at the wall when not in use (including your computer)
    • Use public transport, carpool, walk or cycle where possible
    • Keep your car tyres properly inflated to get better mileage on your tank of fuel
    • Hang your clothes on a clothes line rather than using a dryer
    • Take the stairs (this is good exercise, but also reduces energy use!)
    • Consume less plastic – avoid plastic straws, take your own bags to the shop, refill your water bottle
  • Save water:
    • Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth
    • Take shorter showers
    • Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they’re full
    • Use a watering can, rather than a hose, for your garden – and only water in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation
    • Plant native trees and plants which are best suited to your local climate
  • Reduce pollution:
    • Opt for non-toxic cleaning products or make your own
    • Properly dispose of chemical products
    • Avoid pesticides in the garden
    • Use sunscreen that’s good for the planet  
    • Recycle everything you can
    • Pick up rubbish when you see it, particularly in natural areas
    • Encourage your team or family to reduce single-use plastics in the home and office
  • Protect wildlife and habitats:
    • Follow signage in national parks – this is designed to protect ecosystems and wildlife
    • Volunteer for a cause you care about
    • Petition for change by writing to your local government representatives – particularly in light of the upcoming election
    • Think carefully about purchasing animal goods, including when you’re on holiday – sadly, many products made of wild animals or plants are sold illegally around the world

What’s your best tip to protect our species this Earth Day and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!

Earth Day Grampians Personalised Tours 2

Photo: Grampians Personalised Tours & Adventures deliver individualised tours and interpretation activities that create an awareness and understanding of the diverse natural world of the Grampians National Park. Owner Noel Nicholls is a trained guide with specialised bush interpretation accreditation and their tours have been certified for 20 years!

For more information about Earth Day, check out the Earth Day Network website or follow Earth Day activities on social media.

[Header image: Great Ocean Ecolodge / Conservation Ecology Centre]

  

Travel with Care in Thailand

Travel with Care in Thailand Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat acknowledged that sustainable tourism looks beyond economic benefits: “Thailand, which witnessed 38 million tourist arrivals last year and tourism revenue approaching 20% of GDP, has provided us with a more challenging job.” The tasks, he said, are to ensure fair distribution of […]

The post Travel with Care in Thailand appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).