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

GSTC Training in Latin America: New Partnership with Regenera

Over the last few years, the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) has engaged hundreds of tourism industry professionals from around the world, sharing insights, exchanging ideas, and discussing solutions to some of our most important challenges in sustainable tourism. We are excited to announce that the GSTC is collaborating with Regenera, our […]

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Outside Magazine: Is Your ‘Eco-Lodge’ Really Eco-Friendly?

According to a 2019 report by Booking.com, 70 percent of global travelers would be more inclined to book eco-friendly accommodation. The industry seems to have taken the hint: eco-lodges and “green” hotels are trending. But these days, it can be difficult to discern between environmentally friendly digs and those just trying to profit from the craze. So […]

The post Outside Magazine: Is Your ‘Eco-Lodge’ Really Eco-Friendly? appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST CERTIFIED OPERATOR, BOOBOOK ECOTOURS

Ecotourism Australia (EA) is proud to welcome Boobook Ecotours, another outstanding sustainable ecotourism operator, to our ECO Certification program. We offer our congratulations to this team of professional ecological consultants on their recent achievement of reaching Advanced Ecotourism Certification for their Discover Carnarvon Ranges Day Tour, Wheat Wells and Wildlife Day Tour, BOOBOOK’s Eco-Science Expedition, BOOBOOK’s Roma Town Tour and Wildflower Wander Tour.

The award-winning Boobook Ecotours operates in Roma, within the Sandstone Belt of south-west Queensland. Roma is accessible via a one-hour flight, which run daily from Brisbane or, alternatively, it is an easy six-hour drive from the state’s capital. Their ecotours provide the opportunity to experience the Australian outback the way it was intended, with exclusive access to privately owned properties, family-run farms, little-known national parks and state forests.

With an ecological expert as an interpretive guide, small groups of two to twelve visitors can immerse themselves in the natural ecosystem, encounter lesser known wildlife and hear unique stories of local pioneering history, all while being educated on the local industries of agriculture and coal seam gas.

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Curly-bark Heath-myrtle (Micromyrtus sessilis)   / Credit: BOOBOOK Ecotours, Facebook

Craig Eddie is the director of BOOBOOK Ecotours, Principal Ecologist and tour guide. He is a walking natural history guide, book author, published expert, has sat on numerous panels regarding Queensland fauna and has a healthy obsession with snails, which has led to the discovery of new species.

Craig is considered the David Attenborough of the south-west.

Other members of BOOBOOK’s specialist team, with 20+ years of experience, include Meryl Eddie; Business Manager, Richard Johnson and Michael Cunningham; both senior ecologists and Rosamund Aisthorpe; Botanist. These highly experienced and passionate professionals offer visitors a unique and unforgettable tour experience while ensuring they maintain the pristine quality and untouched natural landscape within their offbeat locations.

You can be assured when wandering around Australia’s real outdoors, with an ecologist tour guide, that you are in for something special, and BOOBOOK’s ECO certified tours reflect just that. A range of individual fitness levels are considered in relation to the terrain explored, with tours clearly rated from easy to moderate through to more difficult levels. Specialist equipment such as walking poles is supplied if needed as are headtorches, with rechargeable batteries of course, for overnight stays.

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Overnight stay / Credit: BOOBOOK Ecotours, Facebook

BOOBOOK Ecotours are committed to reducing their environmental footprint as much as they can and although all tours are fully catered, you won’t see any disposable cutlery offered. All meals are transported with reusable containers, leftover food is composted on the group’s return to the office and visitors are required to bring their own water bottles, which will be topped up with rainwater.

Visitors will be thankful for limited Wi-Fi as they see and connect with parts of Queensland rarely seen by most people. In preparation, BOOBOOK Ecotours recommend bringing a sense of adventure, good humour and to be prepared to ask plenty of questions!

So, let’s have a closer look at the tours which BOOBOOK offer.

Head off on an adventure to Discover Carnarvon Ranges and explore a 71,000-acre working cattle station where nature and farming co-exist. Amongst the hidden wonders of secluded gorges and secret caves is the opportunity to discover dinosaur plants, Australian wildlife and Aboriginal rock art, which includes some of the best Indigenous stencil art in the world.

Discover Carnarvon Ranges FB credit Boobook

Discover Carnarvon Ranges Tour / Credit: BOOBOOK Ecotours, Facebook

The Wheat, Wells and Wildlife Day Tour is perfect for those who are keen to learn more about local history, sustainable agriculture and the coal seam gas industry. While visiting the local water holes you might be lucky enough to see a platypus and critically endangered turtles, as well as appreciate local flora.

If stopping to smell the ‘wildflowers’ is more your thing then treat yourself to one of southern Queensland’s most botanically significant areas thanks to the Wildflower Wander Gurulmundi tour. From mid-August to September, visitors can marvel at fields of wildflowers, grass trees and rare and endemic species while being surrounded by the colour explosion that makes Gurulmundi shine. Visitors arriving outside of wildflower season can enjoy a guided tour of Roma to hear the untold stories and learn how the town has transformed thanks to past and present heroes. There is also the town’s biggest bottle tree that you don’t want to miss seeing!

Rufous Bettong Rat Kangaroo commonly found around Roma BOOBOOK facebook

The Rufous Bettong (also known as rat-kangaroo) is commonly found around Roma / Credit: BOOBOOK Ecotours, Facebook

For a truly unique travel experience, BOOBOOK Ecotours also lead a real-life Eco-Science Expedition working with an Australian expert ecologist. Visitors can contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge through helping to discover and document Australian animal species from previously unexplored areas. Soak in the peace and quiet while visiting stimulating, impressive and offbeat locations with amazing rock foundations, gorges and lookouts. There is also the opportunity to take a paddle in a canoe or, if the weather is right, a swim in the local spring-fed creek or waterhole.

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Eco-Science Expedition / Credit: BOOBOOK Ecotours, Facebook

It is easy to see why BOOBOOK Ecotours have received a five-star rating from their previous visitors as their unrivalled commitment to Australia’s unique ecosystem is evident through their business culture and ongoing community support. BOOBOOK Ecotours support, both financially and in kind, Maranoa Wildlife Caring & Education Centre, donate to the Save the Bilby Fund and Richmond Birding Butterfly Conservation and members of the team are active wildlife carers. Local schools benefit from their accumulated knowledge as BOOBOOK Ecotours participate in school talks as well as continuing to support local organisations such as the Maranoa Wildlife Caring & Education Centre.  

To all those Australian nature lovers out there, BOOBOOK Ecotours is definitely one operator you need to save on your ‘must have experiences’ list.

Find out more on their website.

 

[Cover image courtesy of BOOBOOK Ecotours (Facebook)]

WELCOMING BIG DUCK BOAT TOURS TO THE ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA COMMUNITY

Congratulations to Big Duck Boat Tours on achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification for their Seal Island Tour and South Ocean Adventure Tour.

The primary mission of Big Duck Tours is to increase awareness and appreciation of the local marine park and its surrounding waters while operating responsibly and sustainably. Departing from Victor Harbour, just 60 minutes from Adelaide, the Big Duck vessel takes a maximum of 27 passengers to spectacular areas of otherwise inaccessible coastline, islands, and beaches. Three time winner of the Victor Harbor Business Association Business of the Year award, Big Duck Boat Tours offer three tours: Seal Island, Southern Ocean Adventure and a Private Charter Cruise, on which passengers learn about the history, geography, wildlife significance and the protection status of the Encounter Bay Marine Park.

The Big Duck Tours crew include qualified marine biologists who share their knowledge with staff. They have also contributed to the development of the company’s environmental plan and climate change policy. Passengers are informed of the significance of the marine park to South Australia and why they operate under a regulated permit through an informative and educational presentation.

Big Duck Tours offer unique experiences and specialise in whale, sea lion and dolphin sightings. Guests learn about history, geography and wildlife on the tours, as well as about ways they can assist in conservation.

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Photo credit Big Duck Boat Tours

Big Duck Tours’ commitment to sustainability includes environmental initiatives such as multi-use waterproof smocks, assisting the Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch Citizen Science Program and facilitating scientific surveys to Kangaroo Island. Scientific research groups charter their vessels to monitor the local dolphin populations’ health and migratory behaviours. Passengers are encouraged to participate in the KI VH Dolphin Watch and the SA Whale Centre, and Big Duck Tours provide environmental feedback advice to the local council.

 

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Photo credit Big Duck Boat Tours

Big Duck Tours’ responsible recycling practices include feeding shredded paper to worm farms; buying bulk goods in reusable containers which are returned for refill and using water from the toilet system on a local turf farm. Climate action initiatives include washing the vessel with fresh water only and using swing mooring to protect the seagrass, allowing them to photosynthesise.

Staff plan to plant 500 trees in 2020 to help reduce the operator’s carbon footprint, eco-friendly lighting is used throughout the office environment and an electronic ticketing system is used to reduce paper. Local tradesmen are engaged where possible so the operator has the opportunity to give back to the local community.

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Photo credit Big Duck Boat Tours – Granite Island

Community engagement is something Big Duck prides itself on. They are active members of Victor Harbor Business Association, Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism and the South Australian Tourism Commission. They present regularly to the volunteers at the Goolwa and Victor Harbor visitor information centres and sponsor Surf Life Saving events. South Australia local Indigenous dreamtime stories and significant historical information form part of Big Duck Boat tours.

 

For more information about Big Duck Tours, visit their website or Facebook page.