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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GLAMPING PIONEERS

Do a quick Google search of ‘glamping’ and an abundance of Instagram-worthy, boho-styled, canvas safari tent-like accommodation will flood your screen. Usually situated on a pristine beach or in a lush jungle, you’ll likely think to yourself ‘yeah as if, places like that don’t exist.’ Boy oh boy does it make you itch for a weekend away, though. Well, turns out, the weekend of your dreams does exist, and it has for 20 years.

Situated near the white sand beaches and pristine waters of Jervis Bay, NSW, you will find the pioneers of glamping, Paperbark Camp, which first opened its doors in April 1999. Nestled amongst native Australian bush, you will find the cosy canvas cabins that have now become synonymous with luxury camping: The perfect base for a nature filled weekend. Although, there’s absolutely no judgement here if you choose to stay in the bath all weekend, either… I mean, look at that view:

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Paperbark camp gives you the opportunity to enjoy a sunset bevvy from your private deck, just as the founders did when they conceived the idea in Africa in the early 90s. Irena and Jeremy Hutchings had fallen in love with the style of accommodation they frequented on safari in Africa. The idea of being amongst nature, without the hassle of packing and unpacking camping gear, but with the comfort of a few simple luxuries, all the while sticking to their camping-addicted roots, was appealing to say the least.  Why was this not happening in Australia, they wondered? After deciding to leave their jobs and buy a 100-acre site of untouched, creek front bushland in Jervis Bay, their dream became reality. Yet could the couple ever foresee the emergence of the now very hashtagable trend of ‘glamping’?

PBC DeluxeTentSunrise DickSweeney

“We have always embraced growth in the market,” says Camilla Hamilford, Paperbark’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “We believe the more that people experience this type of accommodation the more they seek it out when they travel elsewhere. When we started out, the word glamping hadn’t been invented, but twenty years on you can find glamping in all corners of the country and in many different styles, from much more basic to super luxurious!”

Twenty years on and Paperbark Camp welcomes guests from all over the globe who are looking for a genuine Australian bush experience, as well as city slickers simply just looking for a breather.

“In the earlier days we would have said that our guests were very much professional and well-travelled, an adventurer looking for something different for their quiet getaway, reflects Camilla.

“These days we feel that we appeal to a much broader market, people understand the concept of glamping and are looking for a more unique experience when travelling. So, these days we welcome all sorts of people [and] even if it’s a bit outside their comfort zone, they nearly always leave so glad they have had the experience.”

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Long before sustainability was ‘in’, the Hutchings were thinking green. When planning commenced on the project in the 90s, the concept of ecotourism was small and relatively unheard of*. It was the Hutching’s desire to maintain as much peace and beauty of the natural environment as possible that really drove Paperbark Camp’s sustainability mission to the forefront of their business operations.

With the emergence of climate change concerns and the growth in demand for travel that impacted the environment as little as possible, Paperbark Camp was quickly recognised as leader in the field and achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification in its first year of operation. The owners and staff are dedicated to continuous improvement and leaving a lasting positive impact on their local environment. You can read more about their sustainability initiatives here.

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From all of us here at Ecotourism Australia: Happy birthday, Paperbark Camp, and all the best for the next 20 years!

 

Want to know about some of our other ecotourism pioneers? Check out our certification Hall of Fame.

For more information about Paperbark Camp, check out their website or follow them on social media.

For more green travel inspiration, visit our Green Travel Guide.

 

*Though we were talking about it too!

 

[Photos: Paperbark Camp]

9 INCOMPARABLE DINING EXPERIENCES TO ADD TO YOUR BUCKET LIST

Catch A Crab Tour & Oyster Farm

Calling all seafood lovers! The original Gold Coast crabbing and oyster adventure tour is the experience you didn’t know you needed, but is soon become the one you want. The folks at Catch A Crab will provide you with an unforgettable Australian outdoor lifestyle experience. You will enjoy activities along the likes of fishing, yabbie pumping and trapping of live mud crabs. All this activity is followed by one of the best seafood lunches you’ll find at the Lakeside Café, overlooking the oyster farms. What more could you want in a day out?

 Find out more here.

Artisan Food and Wine Tour

You will be afforded all the highlights of Kangaroo Island’s well known wildlife, coastal scenery and rolling hinterland, while experiencing the best of local artisans with one of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Food and Wine Tours. Greeted at your accommodation by local guides, you will be taken on a taste experience; sampling local seafoods including Marron, Crayfish (in season) and King George Whiting. You will also visit numerous local wineries with a spectacular view and many (emphasis on many) tasters. To top off your day and your palate, you’ll wrap up with cocktail hour at Kangaroo Island Spirits. It’s time to design your own cocktail. Yuuuuuum!

Find out more here.

 Kangeroo Island Dining Tours

Photo: Kangeroo Island Wilderness Tours

Whitehaven Beach BBQ

If a barbecue lunch is all you’re after, we have the experience for you. Departing from Airlie Beach, Whitehaven Xpress visits both Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet Lookout to allow you to absorb the surreal views. Whilst experiencing the famous and breathtaking Whitehaven beach, you will get the full Aussie treatment with a beach BBQ! Voted the best BBQ lunch in the Whitsundays, you’ll feast on steak, sausages, chilli burgers, salad and tropical fruits under the native trees. Top the day off with a snorkel or glass bottom boat tour.  

Find out more here. 

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Photo: Coconut Plantation Thala Beach Nature Reserve  

Coconut Odyssey

Sticking to the Tropical Queensland theme, head out to the secluded retreat of your dreams. Near Port Douglas, located on a secluded beach, surrounded by forest, you will find the private nature reserve of Thala Beach. Sitting atop a headland with breathtaking vistas, it is the perfect base to explore the Great Barrier Reef & Daintree Rainforest. Thala Beach Nature Reserve offers guests one of the only coconut tours in Australia. Throughout the tour you will get to drink and eat from a variety of coconuts including the ‘Coconut Apple’; as well as learning all about their health benefits of coconuts. Labelled as the ‘tour that help you lose weight without exercising’ how could you say no?

Find out more here.

Hot Springs Graze & Bathe

Rejuvenation for the mind, body and tummy? Situated on the Mornington Peninsula awaits an experience like no other at Peninsula Hot Springs. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into the pools and private baths at this coastal oasis; providing an idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. You can graze and bathe with an array of dining packages available; from exclusive Moroccan tents to grazing platters and wine, or maybe just a quiet breakfast for two. This is absolutely on my bucket list, what about you?

Find out more here.

Penisular hot springs

Photo: Peninsula Hot Springs

Sunset Cultural & Dining Experience

The Northern Territory’s Nitmiluk Gorge is a maze of waterways sculpted from sandstone cliffs by the Katherine River. Sit back and relax as the tranquil surroundings transport you into a spiritual world of the Jawoyn culture and history. The Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Tour will have you discover the stories and ways of the Jawoyn people against the magnificent backdrop of the Nitmiluk Gorge, changing colour with the setting sun. This idyllic tour includes a three-course candlelight dinner, featuring local Australian produce, cooked on board. This unique experience will have you falling in love with the Nothern Territory and its local produce.

Find out more here.

 Nitmiluk Tours food cruise photo

Photo: Nitmiluk Tours

The Perfect Weekender

We get it, sometimes you don’t want to do anything but eat, drink and relax by the pool. Why not do that in one of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes? Sangoma Retreat, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, offers complete tranquility and a luxury weekend ‘bush experience’ in a restful, lush setting. The dining is in a class of its own highlighting locally sourced, organic produce and indulgent seasonal menus. Dining here is an activity within itself and well worth your time. I feel nourished just thinking about it.

Find out more here.   

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Photo: Spicers Sangoma Retreat Restaurant

Off Road Wine Tour with a Local

Get out of the city and off the beaten track with Simmo’s Offroad Tours. Simmo will provide you with Scenic 4WD Wine & Produce Tours of the Orange & Bathurst cool-climate wine region. These tours feature breathtaking lookouts from Mount Canobolas and a guided tour through Borenore Caves. Guests also meet with local grape-growers, wine makers, orchardists, and local farmers. No one knows better than the locals!

Find out more here.

Helicopter Food & Wine Tour

Now this is how you take your lunch to the next level (literally).  Just a short trip from Brisbane you can jump aboard a Pterodactyl Helicopter and embark on a food tour you’ve never experienced before. Show up to lunch like a Rockstar, as Pterodactyl Helicopters flies you to a selection of South East Queensland’s finest restaurants, quirky cafes, boutique breweries, award winning wineries and authentic Australian pubs. You can even get flown into your very own secluded picnic location (did someone say Insta-worthy or what). On your flight you’ll get a birds-eye view of Brisbane, Ipswich, the Scenic Rim, Sommerset and the Lockyer Valley. This is an experience that is just way too cool to pass up.

Find out more here.

 Pterodactyl heli food tour photo

Photo: Pterodactyl Helicopters

[Header Photo: Peninsular Hot Springs]

 

Want more foodie inspiration? Try searching by “Food & Wine” in our Green Travel Guide!

 

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.

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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.

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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:

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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 […]

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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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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).