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


Congratulations to Elysian Retreat for achieving ECO Certification at the Advanced Ecotourism level and Climate Action Business Certification for its luxury eco-retreat. These certifications recognise Elysian Retreat’s commitment and dedication to sustainable practices and climate change action.

Located in the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays, this family-owned retreat offers all-inclusive luxurious sustainable accommodation. The exclusively tailored experiences and secluded location in Long Island are ideal for those with busy lifestyles looking for a bit of calm and serenity. The all-inclusive package allows guests to taste a custom menu of specially catered and sustainably sourced local cuisine. To top it off, a personalised organic spa and a range of aquatic adventures for every individual are also available.

Whitsundays aerial

Whitsundays aerial – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

For those longing for privacy, the adult-only retreat has a maximum of 20 guests at a time policy and can also be hired on a sole-occupancy basis in the event you do not want to share this reef paradise.

Drift away in outdoor hammocks, find stillness in the zen garden, laze on the day beds or float in the gentle mineral resort pool.

The sustainability journey for Elysian Retreat starts right from the beginning at their supply chain. As part of the Elysian Sustainable Purchasing Policy, they carefully choose many of their suppliers based on their ethos and commitment to sustainability.

Villas aerial

Villas aerial – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

Following in the footsteps of their sister retreat Pumpkin Island, one of EA’s certified members and Australia’s first beyond carbon neutral island, Elysian Retreat is the Great Barrier Reef’s first resort to be 100 per cent powered by the sun’s energy. Thus offsetting 150% of their emissions and becoming carbon negative.

Ocean front villa

Ocean front villa – Photo credit Elysian Retreat

All the water on the island is filtered rainwater and different systems throughout the facilities ensure that as much water as possible is conserved. A modern wastewater treatment system allows for all the water to be reused. Other special environmental measures incorporated into their daily operations include a kitchen garden, minimised waste production through composting practices, biodegradable cleaning products, and minimising the use of plastic.

The environment is a key focus for Elysian Retreat who collaborates to rehabilitate damaged coral from the Great Barrier Reef. They have adopted a coral through the Reef Restoration Foundation’s Coral Crusaders program, which will enable for other damaged corals to regenerate. This recently created program has seen great success in coral growth planting new coral colonies on damaged reef.

Congratulations once again to Elysian Retreat for achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification and Climate Action Business Certification for their island secluded eco-retreat, and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!

To find out more about Elysian Retreat, visit their website or Facebook page.

[Banner image supplied by Elysian Retreat]


#SwissTourism4SDGs – New Category Launched

The Swiss Tourism Dialogue on the SDGs, an initiative supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, is now visible as a separate category on this platform. Under the hashtag #SwissTourism4SDGs, sustainable tourism activities of stakeholders in Swiss incoming and outgoing tourism are connected. This facilitates the exchange of knowledge and enables the […]


Debby Tours and Transfers has achieved ECO Certification at the Ecotourism level. The company aims to provide fun and joy to their passengers through unforgettable trips to beautiful places.

Some of the most popular tours offered by Debby Tours and Transfers includes the Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Tour, Philip Island Day Tour and Grampians Day Tour.

The Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Tour is a guided scenic drive along one of Australia’s most scenic coastlines. The small group tour includes a visit to the picturesque 12 Apostles.

On the Philip Island Day Tour, guests experience the famous Penguin Parade, and also have the opportunity to explore this beautiful island’s white beaches and unique wildlife.

Phillip 01

On the Grampians Day Tour, visitors explore the impressive sandstone mountain ranges of Grampians National Park and enjoy majestic waterfalls, dazzling spring wildflower displays and awe-inspiring mountain panoramas. The Grampians National Park is a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers. A beautiful place for scenic drives, bush walks, climbing, panoramic views and witnessing native animals such as Kangaroos, Wallabies and Koalas. The area is home to rich Aboriginal heritage with important rock art sites.

Debby Tours and Transfers has strong environmental and conservational ethics and strive to encourage similar values in their guests. In addition to pointing out areas of interest and wildlife, tour guides are trained to educate guests on the surrounding natural landscapes, local indigenous culture and heritage, local conservation efforts and environmental management strategies

The company’s ecotourism certification is testament to their dedication to managing operations in a way which protects and enhances the environment around them.


Debby Tours and Transfers offer six different ECO certified tours: 

  • Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles Day Tour
  • Phillip Island Day Tour 
  • Grampians Day Tour
  • Wilson’s Promontory National Park Tour 
  • Mornington Peninsula – Hot Springs & Wine Tasting
  • Mount Buller Snow Trip 

Congratulations once again to Debby Tours and Transfers for achieving ECO Ecotourism certification and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!

For more information about Debby Tours and Transfers visit their website or Facebook page.

[All images: Debby Tours and Transfers]


The following tips were presented by Director of Australian Luxury Escapes, Grant Charlesworth at the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in December 2020.

Due to COVID-19, the Eco and Luxury tourism sectors will be subject to significant change over the coming 12 months. Businesses should be focussed on their viability and profitability, with small changes key to capturing the unique opportunity that is on offer. Customers may be looking for more meaningful tourism experiences over the coming years, presenting an environment for small tour operators to thrive.

1. Upgrade your product offering to a more upmarket experience

This will fuel the ongoing demand for luxury, boutique experiences whilst creating potential for an additional revenue stream. Review your product offering and see what opportunities exist for upgrade, value add or collaboration. This enables you to charge more, cross promote with other suppliers/operators, and provide your guests with a richer experience.

Examples include:

  • Offering premium transfers to and from your tour or main product offering.
  • Collaborating with a local restaurant to provide lunch/meal services to package into your main product offering.

2. Review your distribution

Work out where your niche is and do some research into who can best assist you in distributing or selling your product. Price your rates accordingly and then target domestic or international travel wholesalers. Sometimes your margins may be less but there are big advantages involved in engaging with wholesalers and travel agents.


Photo: Cairns Adventure Group / Facebook

3. System Development

The number one system development never used is customer retention. There are so many simple and cost-effective ways in which you can engage your customers on an ongoing basis.

Unfortunately, most people spend the majority of their time chasing new customers and fail to look after their existing client base. If you are not looking after your clients someone else will be.

If you haven’t already, consider creating an engaging and relevant newsletter to send to your existing customer database. Facebook and Instagram are two proven platforms for engaging with existing and returning customers.

4. Customer Service

This really should be a no brainer but too many tour operators fail to spend the time or have the right attitude for premium customer service. We are in the service industry after all, so we are here to serve. Engaging with your clients meaningfully will improve their experience, promote customer retention, and increases your chances of upsell and word of mouth promotion.

The pandemic has created a lot of disruption in our sector, but with disruption comes opportunity! Potential customers are going to be looking at more meaningful experiences moving forward, and ecotourism operators are poised to deliver this. Now is the time to take action to fully capitalise on these opportunities.



Photo: Australian Luxury Escapes

Grant Charlesworth is Owner/Operator of Advanced Ecotourism certified Australian Luxury Escapes. Australian Luxury Escapes has been established for over 27 years, specialising in luxury small group and private touring throughout the whole of Australia. For more information visit their website, here


[Cover image courtesy of: Alice Springs Desert Park / Facebook]