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

GSTC Training Program Announces New Partner, mascontour

GSTC Training Partner: mascontour Sustainable Tourism Consulting & Communication The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announces a new partnership with mascontour, a leading global sustainable tourism consultancy based in Berlin, Germany. GSTC will work with mascontour’s team of expert sustainable tourism consultants to deliver training and skills development opportunities for tourism industry professionals. One […]

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Every Everyday Ecotourism Hero has their own, unique way of impacting the world around them for the better. Jim Smith has fostered positive partnerships with local communities and businesses that will leave long lasting positive impacts on the area. From sourcing produce to educating the public on conservation and culture, Jim keeps it local and authentic. He greatly values the partnerships his company has made and continually uses and promotes local businesses in a day and age where it is often a cheaper and easier to go with imported products. His continuous work with Traditional Land Owners is something to be recognised as this is a core value to his business, Sea Darwin.

Jim set up Sea Darwin in 2008, which has evolved into an award-winning ecotourism business. This is a direct result of his passion for ecotourism. Jim thrives off showcasing the Top End coastal environment to Northern Territory visitors and is labelled by colleagues as a ‘responsible tourism role model’ for those in his company. Through Jim’s curious and intriguing stories of Darwin Harbour, customers and guests are motivated to connect with the Top End as an important environmental, culturally significant and historical destination.

 Sea Darwin Cruise Boat and Dolphins

“His commitment to the environment and to the community permeates his life, and his passion for ecotourism is evident to all who meet him,” says Heather, a Sea Darwin team member.

Jim has also successfully negotiated the very first Section 19 tourism licence with the Northern Land Council, following the finalisation of the Kenbi Land Claim in 2017. This involved working with the Traditional Owners to structure the licence in such a way as to protect the environmental fragility of Ngulbitjik. 

SEA Darwin NT Turtle 1 

Through Jim’s passion for ecotourism and belief in supporting the local community, he has instigated several giving back projects. For example, Sea Darwin donates a portion of their tour price to Austurtle (a Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Organisation). The company also conducts an annual marine debris collection of Ngulbitjik (Bare Sand Island) prior to the start of the sea turtle nesting season. Data from this annual collection is logged with Tangaroa Blue to assist with research and projects and this marine debris collection was awarded the NT Seafood Council’s Environment Award in 2017.

Sea Darwin also provides heavily discounted educational encounters for school groups, connecting them with Darwin Harbour’s history and habitats. Sea Darwin is always a significant partner in the annual Darwin Harbour Clean Up and Jim is a member of the NT Government’s Darwin Harbour Advisory Committee.

Jim’s work is invaluable to the restoration and conservation of the Northern Territories environment and culture and we’re very thankful to have him as part of the Ecotourism Australia community!

SEA Darwin NT Turtle 3 

Thank you, Jim, for all that you do, and to Heather for nominating him.

For more information on Sea Darwin, visit their website or Facebook page.

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

SEA Darwin NT Turtle 2 

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!


[Photos: Sea Darwin]


Hiking for mental health is the mission behind The Hike Collective. The Collective exists primarily to create awareness of the connection between movement and nature for mental health. Not only do they achieve this, but they also open the opportunity for locals and visitors to enjoy safe and sustainable hiking experiences in Western Australia through fostering organic connections and support for hikers.

The Hike Collective WA Walking Shoes

Formed in 2016 as a simple Facebook group, a few friends and clients of founder Kate Gibson began to see the effects of nature on their mental health and clarity.  Kate’s clients were talking, laughing and moving more freely about nature than they ever had before. The word quickly spread, and The Hike Collective grew into a fully-fledged company that provides opportunities for individuals and businesses to explore nature in one of the most organic and low impact forms possible with a group of like-minded people.

the hike collective 3

The Hike Collective are currently selling out with hiking events of 100 people. They share their message and vision through social media with a reach of over 75,000 people. Their tribe of 17 volunteer hike leaders assists in making hiking in WA accessible and achievable for everybody.

The Hike Collective WA

The Hike Collective provides a hiking and nature experience that makes a positive impact on both the community and the environment. They have a minimal impact policy and practice the principle of ‘leave no trace’. The company puts a large emphasis on leaving trails and the natural environment as untouched as possible and the policies they have implemented promote the conservation of the ecological and intrinsic values of natural settings for outdoor recreation. Through their focus on environmental risk management and education for guests, they actively contribute to the management and upkeep of trails.

The Hike Collective WA Waterfall

We would like to congratulate the Hike Collective on achieving Nature Tourism Certification and welcome them to the Ecotourism Australia family.

Find out about this excellent company here.


[Photos: The Hike Collective]

We Are Water Foundation and Diamond Resorts partner to launch sustainable water usage initiative at European resorts

Diamond Resorts™, a global leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industries, has announced it has partnered with the We Are Water Foundation to launch an initiative that encourages travellers to make a rational and sustainable use of water. The partnership demonstrates Diamond Resorts’ commitment to changing sustainability practices within the hospitality and tourism industries. As part […]

Tips from Airbnb Tourism Advisory Board

How to Support Healthy Tourism When You Travel: Tips from Airbnb Tourism Advisory Board Professor the Hon. Bob Carr, the former Foreign Affairs Minister for Australia and former Premier of New South Wales: “Beyond the advice of our Tourism Advisory Board, there are many other resources you can tap for learning how to be a […]

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PATA BUFFET – State of the Industry Report

PATA BUFFET (Building an Understanding For Food Excess in Tourism) State of the Industry Report Every year around the globe, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted. That is one-third of all food produced for human consumption (FAO, 2019). There is a huge opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industry in the Asia […]

The post PATA BUFFET – State of the Industry Report appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).


Discussions about recycling have been rife in the Australian media ever since China stopped taking our rubbish in 2018. As the country now faces what some are calling a crisis or recycling nightmare, it seems more pressing than ever to find solutions to the problems which have brought us here in the first place.

A dig deep into Australia’s rubbish culture finds that we’re producing 67 million tonnes of waste every year – this is the equivalent in weight to 335,000 blue whales – and even that is hard to wrap your head around. Whilst a recent survey found that almost 93% of people said reducing waste and recycling products into something new was important to them, there is still a lot of miscommunication, misunderstanding and general mistrust around how, when and what to recycle.

With Global Recycling Day just around the corner (18 May), we thought it was time to break down some of the most common objections to recycling. We’ve also trawled through the resources available from some of Australia’s leading industry organisations in waste management, so that you – and those around you – can be educated on what’s true, possible and helpful – and what’s not.

Planet ark image

Objection 1: I don’t know how to recycle – it’s all just too confusing!

This is a common one, and it’s not surprising. A 2018 report from the Australian Council of Recycling found that Australia was rated 17th in the world for recycling, four spots lower than we were just three years ago. A big part of the problem seems to be a lack of clear understanding of what can be recycled, and what can’t.

For example, in a survey of over 1000 Australians aged 14-64, six out of ten people incorrectly thought that Pringles tubes were recyclable, and one in three thought that plastic bags and other packaging (such as those used for pasta, rice, bread and chips) belonged in the recycling bin – when in fact, these items are the biggest problem in the recycling system as they get caught in the sorting machines. Interestingly, women are more likely to know that berry punnets are recyclable, and people under the age of 24 are more likely to pay extra to ensure batteries are recycled!

To make life easy for everyone, Planet Ark has created ‘The 6 Golden Rules of Kerbside Recycling’ – a quick-check guide for any common recycling queries. To download a PDF printout of these rules, click here.

Planet ARk bins

Objection 2: I don’t believe it’s actually getting recycled.

So, you’re a cynic? No worries – as an organisation that fights greenwashing, we can appreciate that. But don’t let your doubting distrust stop you from being a moral citizen. Whilst China’s ban has put a temporary hold on processing some of Australia’s recyclable waste, as the country works out the best solution moving forward, a fair bit of it has been sent to other processing markets in Asia or domestically. You can find out how we, and other countries, process this waste here.

In the meantime, check out Business Recycling’s great resource on how different types of waste can be processed – did you know, for example, that most elements of mattresses (one of the most common items sent to landfill) can be recycled? The timber is processed into woodchips and used to make animal bedding and mulch, the springs are sent to scrap metal merchants for melting and use in buildings, infrastructure, vehicles and appliances, and the foam, wadding and latex from inside the mattress is recycled into carpet underlay. Excuse the pun, but we reckon you’ll be able to sleep easy knowing more about how your waste is being recycled.

 1. Waste photo ABC Gipsland Nicole Asher

Objection 3: I’m just one person – what I do or don’t do won’t really make a difference.

Again, we hear you. This is a 335,000-whales-sized issue, and you’re one citizen of Australia’s 25,000,000. With ongoing discussions at national and state government level (interestingly, this is the first federal election in which the Australian Labour Party, the Coalition and The Greens are all offering substantive policies to improve our national recycling system, according to Australian Council of Recycling CEO, Pete Shmigel), it’s a situation that’s not going to be smoothed out overnight. But sitting and waiting isn’t the way forward.

Instead, we recommend checking out Planet Ark’s top recycling mistakes and how to fix them below, and choosing to keep this conversation going – even when the solution seems a long way off. Whilst he was writing on climate change action, Matthew Adams’ words in The Conversation ring equally true for this “recycling crisis”:

“To bridge this gap [between individual action and collective change], we need to start by addressing the issue at the in-between level – with our family, friends, and the spaces and places of civil society. […] There are some historical precedents here […]. The women’s suffrage and abolitionist movements, for example, were built on countless individual “choices” but not “behaviour and lifestyles changes” of the kind we associate with checklists. These movements depended on people starting (awkward) conversations in everyday settings. Collective action is here interlinked with individual choice – choosing to talk, perhaps through awkwardness and embarrassment at first, learning, voting, writing, protesting, divesting and investing, taking a stand and seeking out others to do it with; coming together, to demand societal and cultural change.”

What are you doing to make a change this Global Recycling Day?

 top recycling mistakes by Planet Ark

Want more information? Check out these great resources:

ABC News | The eight most common mistakes householders make with recycling

Planet Ark | So you think you can recycle?

ABC | War on Waste  and  War on Waste tips

Australian Council of Recycling | 10 point plan for results-based recycling

Clean Up Australia | Clean up our waste – what you can do


[Photos: ABC / Planet Ark]