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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
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]