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


Hervey Bay Boat Club’s Sandy Straits Scenic and Wildlife cruise is a relaxed, five-hour tour through the pristine waters of the Great Sandy Straits Marine Park. On the tour you visit historic and naturally significant locations such as: Woody Island, North White Cliffs, Ungowa and Garry’s Anchorage. 

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Photo: Hervey Bay Boat Club

Departing from the Hervey Bay Boat Club guests can relax on deck, wildlife spotting as you cruise south, along the picturesque west coast of World heritage-listed K’Gari (Fraser Island), to the famous Gary’s Anchorage, located approximately half-way to Tin Can Bay.

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Photo: Hervey Bay Boat Club

Passengers will see swathes of mangroves, and the famous sand cliffs of K’Gari. The surrounding sand flats and wilderness flourish with marine life and birds. Dolphins, turtles, and eagles are common, but you can also see more elusive animals such as dugong, sharks and the famous Fraser Island dingos.

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Photo: Hervey Bay Boat Club

One of the key features of this cruise is the informative commentary on the sensitive, inter-tidal marine ecosystem and Ramsar protected area of international importance. The tour emphasises the vibrant presence of migratory shorebirds and the need to protect their population within the Great Sandy Marine Park World Heritage area. On the cruise, you will learn that the shorebirds occupy a range of habitats, including the mouths of creeks and estuary ecosystems, rocky ocean foreshores, sand spits and sandy beaches.

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Photo: Hervey Bay Boat Club

The commentary also focuses on local history, including early settlers, logging, the challengers of explorers Cook and Flinders. It begins with a paying of respects to local Aboriginal Butchulla peoples, Elders past, present and emerging.


The tour in includes a light lunch and is available November – June. Click here to book.  


To learn more about Hervey Bay Boat Club’s ECO certified adventure cruises, click here


Hervey Bay Boat Club are also on Facebook, or you can visit their website here


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Federal Budget 2020 – Response

Dear Members, 

The Federal Government’s budget delivered last night by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has a lot to like in it for tourism.

Strong support for regions, additional budget for Tourism Australia, support for tourism on the Great Barrier Reef and an attractive tax loss carry back initiative which will allow business to invest in their own recovery.

Personal tax cuts will hopefully lift domestic demand and encourage people to move beyond the capital cities and explore further afield.

The budget assumptions are optimistic and reliant on domestic borders reopening, an effective vaccine developed and delivered, and the tax breaks given to people being spent.

These are not however guaranteed, and time will tell if the optimism is warranted.

Although there is a lot of positive news in the Budget, we were hoping for more on three major issues.

  1. With international borders projected to stay closed until 2021, regional tourism businesses, especially those more than a four-hour drive from a capital city really need further support.
  2. Many of these businesses have been closed an extended period of time and those in the north of Australia will need to wait till at least March 2021 for their season to start. JobKeeper has proven itself to be vital for these businesses, however the budget hasn’t recognised this.
  3. The tax loss carry back initiative is excellent for those tourism businesses that are operational and have the capacity to invest in their business. However, many are not. All business is trying to manage COVID restrictions, but a large number of tourism operators are also trying to recover from bushfires, drought and floods. It will be an enormous challenge for tourism businesses to now find further resources in order to take advantage of this initiative.

The domestic recovery for regions close to capital cities has been welcome, but travel behaviour has changed compared to pre COVID times.

Domestic travellers generally do not take part in the same number of tourism activities that international tourists do.  This means that accommodation occupancy rates can be healthy but tour operators delivering services like dive trips, 4×4 adventures, kayaking and whale watching simply don’t have the pre-COVID numbers.

This decline is amplified by the COVID social distancing requirements greatly reducing the number of people allowed on each trip. These activity-based tourism businesses need ongoing support until international markets re-open and operators can return to pre-COVID levels.

Regionally based tourism is the backbone of many communities throughout Australia.

It supplies sustainable employment, investment and in many cases is the glue that can hold a community together.

These businesses need to be supported through the recovery phase so they are in a position to rebound.


Kind regards,


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Rod Hillman

Chief Executive 



Five ECO Destinations in Top 100 2020 Sustainable Destinations list


Five ECO Destinations have been awarded a place in the Top 100 2020 Sustainable Destinations list announced last night during the first ever online Global Green Destinations Days (GGDD20) conference.

Certified ECO Destination Port Douglas Daintree and four other destinations currently progressing through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification program have been awarded the prestigious accolade. The four progressing ECO Destinations include Lord Howe Island, Townsville, Bay of Plenty (NZ) and Niue Island (Pacific). There currently are 17 destinations in Ecotourism Australia’s program. 

These five ECO Destinations are among an impressive list to be included across the world.

The Sustainable Top 100 Destinations competition is organised to showcase sustainable tourism stories and good practices of destinations, as inspiring examples to others, to tour operators and to travellers. The list of five represents the highest number of destinations to be included from the Australia/ Pacific region.

Being recognised among other world leading destinations for their sustainability efforts, all nominating destinations had to provide extensive evidence and be judged by an international team of experts.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said “the top 100 recognition is a nod to Douglas Shire’s natural tourism icons and the way our community champions sustainability. At a time when we need to cut through a competitive domestic market, this type of recognition is an invaluable marketing tool for our region. 

Trina Shepherd, Executive Officer of Lord Howe Island Tourism said “we are so proud to be recognised in the Sustainable Top 100 Destinations and on our way to be getting the big green tick. This gives us even more recognition for all the sustainable practises and conservation projects we have undertaken as a small island. We hope this inspires even more eco-tourism and nature loving visitors to our shores.” 

Mayor of Townsville Jenny Hill echoed her support for the region being included. “Being recognised as one of the world’s Sustainable Global Top 100 Destinations is particularly relevant this year, as Covid19 has impacted upon us all.

“Many travel opportunities are gone, and it is a stressful time for business and tourism groups across our region. Hence the honour that Top 100 bestows is a great opportunity for us to make a difference locally, nationally and internationally and build and create new markets”she said.

Penny Spoelder, Senior Associate TRC Tourism who has been contracted to assist Niue achieve their sustainable tourism goals and destination certification with Ecotourism Australia said the destination was thrilled with the news. 

“Niue has a clear goal to make tourism sustainable for their culture, the economy, environment and visitors.  Niue Tourism and its industry partners have worked hard over the last few years and it is great to see this effort recognised.  Earlier this year Niue formalised the Moana Mahu Marine protected area. The size of the zone, relative to the country’s total area, makes it the second largest reserve in the world, after Palau.  Now they are in the top 100 and are a great example for other small island destinations.”

With the demand for sustainable travel experiences growing worldwide, Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman said “the ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.

“We are working closely with destinations across the region to develop our leading ECO Destination Program paving the way for Australia to be recognised as a global leader in fostering responsible, sustainable tourism industry development that is backed up by strong action and a whole-of-destination approach,” Mr Hillman said. 




For questions and comments, please contact:

Ingrid Huitema – Communications and Marketing, Ecotourism Australia
0408 112 728 / [email protected]


World Tourism Day 2020

Celebrated on 27 September with the theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”, this year’s international day of observation comes at a critical moment, as countries around the world look to tourism to drive recovery, including in rural communities where the sector is a leading employer and economic pillar. The 2020 edition also comes as governments […]


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