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.
“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.
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!
Thank you, Jim, for all that you do, and to Heather for nominating him.
For more information on our other Everyday Ecotourism Heroes, check out the other articles in this series:
- Edition 1: Ronda Green, Araucaria Ecotours
- Edition 2: Zane Robnik, Park Trek
- Edition 3: Jess Leask, Kings Ningaloo Reef
- Edition 4: Zak Kelly, Whitsunday Segway Tours
- Edition 5: Tracey Larkin, Mt Barney Lodge
- Edition 6: Alex Crowe, Broger’s End Kangaroo Valley
- Edition 7: Elizabeth Hackett, Magnums Backpackers
- Edition 8: Judith Muir, Polperro Dolphin Swims
- Edition 9: Margaret Heffernan, Back Country Bliss
- Edition 10: Christopher Warren, Crystal Creek Meadows
- Edition 11: Helen Masters, Phillip Island Nature Parks
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!
[Photos: Sea Darwin]