For Elizabeth Hackett, Executive Chairman of Magnums Backpackers in Airlie Beach, the 2017 cyclone was a push to consider how sustainable building materials could be used in rebuilding and how native flora could be better protected.
It’s this infectious passion and commitment to environmental sustainability that sets Elizabeth apart as an Everyday Ecotourism Hero in her colleague Anushka Denning’s eyes:
“If I could describe Elizabeth in three words, they would be positive continuous improvement,” Anushka says.
Noting that it was Elizabeth who pushed the team to pursue ECO Certification, even though the business had been operating in a sustainable way for years, Anushka adds that Elizabeth is always encouraging the team to think outside the box and get involved in making Magnums even more sustainable:
“[Elizabeth] not only drives the ecotourism program, but she makes suggestions and supports the ideas of all who work for the company, providing encouragement and education.
“We all feel supported to make suggestions and the entire team take ownership of wanting to better our practices through her motivation and support.”
Being well connected in the Whitsundays community, Elizabeth was part of the recovery committee that drove the clean up effort following Cyclone Debbie in 2017. She has also built a reputation in the community for being environmentally aware and someone who is always seeking to improve and sustain the natural beauty of the area.
Some of the sustainability initiatives Elizabeth has led have included the installation of solar, the posting of eco tips for guests, staff and the public on Magnums’ website and social media, replacing chemicals with environmentally-friendly products and planting a herb garden.
“[The herb garden] has minimised rubbish from guests who buy the pre-packaged herbs from the supermarket, explains Anushka.
“Guests love it.”
Elizabeth also supported the office manager’s suggestion to shred office paper and provide this to community groups and pet shops and assists with composting when she visits the site.
“With the aim of being a paperless office, administrative staff now think twice before they use paper for printing!” says Anushka.
Magnums Backpackers also has signs scattered around the property which aim to boost awareness among guests of the impacts their visit can have. Recently, as Anushka notes, Magnums recruited for guest liaisons officer positions. Their job, among other tasks, is to provide information and education on ecological matters without being overbearing.
“As [Elizabeth] always says, ‘all our steps result in a giant footprint.’”
Thank you, Elizabeth, for being an Everyday Ecotourism Hero and thank you, Anushka, for your nomination!
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
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!