Green Spot.Travel Discovers Tropical North Queensland

Owner and Founder of Green Spot.Travel, Richard G Edwards visited Tropical North Queensland in October, while attending the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference in Cairns.

During his visit, Edwards visited and experienced Advanced Ecotourism Certified operators.

Discussing his experience, Edwards says ‘The reef was spectacular, and the whole visit was top-notch, with world-class Eco Lodges that can stand next to anybody and all the tour providers are great’. He also expressed his thoughts on the potential of incorporating Indigenous tourism, ‘I feel there is huge opportunity to better integrate indigenous history and culture throughout every product I experienced’.

During his trip to Tropical North Queensland, Edwards created a video on his experience with ECO Certified operators which can be viewed here.

Richard G. Edwards has had wide-ranging career in the adventure travel industry and his work as the founding Executive Director of the Trusted Adventures consortium allowed him to assist a host of pioneering adventure companies on their marketing, positioning and branding efforts. Edwards was a key note speaker at the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference, in October discussing Product Development IS Marketing: getting rewarded for innovation.

For more information on Ecotourism Australia’s Certified Operators please visit our website.

For more information on the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference please visit the website.

Western Australian Caravan Park Goes Solar

Big4 Peppermint Park, a Nature Tourism Certified holiday park nestled between Busselton and Dunsborough in Western Australia, has recently installed a state of the art solar power system in their bid to fight climate change.

“In south-west of Western Australia alone, we’re experiencing a rapid decrease in annual rainfall. Last year was the hottest summer in 50 years and droughts are said to increase dramatically in the next decade”, says Craig Robins, owner of the park and eco-enthusiast. “There is no better time than now for businesses to start doing everything they can to look after the environment and reduce the effects of climate change. Installing a solar power system is one way of doing this.”

The solar power system, supplied by a local company and packing in 18.81 kilowatts of power, will save the park 25,550 kW per year – an equivalent of over 4,500 trees saved and cutting more than 194 tons of carbon emissions. Located on the camp kitchen roof, the system will allow the park’s guests to see how much solar energy is being generated via a display screen and will help educate and promote clean and sustainable energy.

“It’s great because guests can see that we are producing clean energy on a daily basis and this  will hopefully encourage them to do their part at home”, says Craig. “We have such a unique eco system down here; we’ve got to work together to make sure it doesn’t disappear”.

For more information on Big4 Peppermint Park please contact:

For more information on Certification, please visit our website.

Tasmanian Forests Peace Deal Reached

Peace deal to end the state’s decades-old forestry conflicts has been signed by all but one of the parties at the long-running roundtable talks.

After almost three years of negotiations and the collapse of the formal talks a deal has finally been done to secure peace in Tasmania’s forests. The deal will see the protection of more than half a million hectares of native forest and the downsizing of the timber industry.

Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) has said that “FIAT signed the deal because we believe it is time for the war to cease.”

Environment Tasmania has welcomed the signing of the forestry peace deal. The group’s director Dr Phill Pullinger says it’s an end to a generational conflict.

Timber Communities Australia (TCA) remains the one group which has not signed up to the deal.

Success for the Protect Our Coral Sea Campaign

A significant step forward for marine conservation in Australia was made this month when the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, announced the declaration of a sparkling, new, beautiful Coral Sea Marine Reserve as part of the greater network of Australia’s marine reserve network. This completes the development of the National
Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (NRSMPA), as agreed to by all
Australian governments in 1998.

The Coral Sea and the other marine reserves concerned will be part of an Australian network playing a major role in the protection of our marine areas. The new Commonwealth marine reserves will add more than 2.3 million square kilometres to Australia’s marine reserve estate, resulting in a total area of 3.1 million square kilometres of Commonwealth waters being managed primarily for biodiversity conservation.

Xanthe Rivett, Cairns and Regional Outreach Manager of the Protect Our Coral Sea campaign has welcomed the news: “The huge system of marine parks will act as an insurance policy for our oceans, building additional resilience for fish stocks, and protecting fragile and critical habitats, such as shallow and deep coral reefs”.

She also added that now the marine reserve had been made official a crucial part of the project, the development of management plans could now take place.

According to a release from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the new reserves came into effect on 17 November 2012, although until the new management plans come into effect there will be no “on the water” changes for users until July 2014. The report also explains that these reserves will comprise the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve and the South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Networks. In addition, seven former Commonwealth marine reserves will be incorporated into the new network and four existing marine reserves will be renamed and incorporated into the North-west Network of Commonwealth Marine Reserves.

It is anticipated that the new management plans will come into effect on 1 July 2014, with the exception of the South-east Network Management Plan which is expected to come into effect on 1 July 2013. Minister Burke has asked the Director of National Parks to commence the development of management plans immediately, so that all marine users can have the certainty required to operate in the reserves.

On 17 November 2012, the Director of National Parks issued a notice of invitation for the public to comment on a proposal to prepare draft management plans for marine reserves under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).  Comments were invited on the management of the South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East Networks of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, as well as on management of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.  This first statutory public comment period will close on 18 December 2012.

Further information on the final Commonwealth marine reserves network and advice on providing comment on the preparation of draft management plans, is available from the department’s website:

Robert Pennicott Named National Geographic Traveller of the Year

Robert Pennicott from Advanced Ecotourism Certified Pennicott Wilderness Journeys has been named traveller of the year.

Tasmania’s rugged beauty with deep sea caves, towering cliffs, migrating whales, sets the perfect stage for ecotourism and creates the ideal platform for philanthropy, as one fearless fund-raiser sees it.

Robert Pennicott a tour operator is proud of his custom-built yellow boats, which ply the pristine waters of Bruny and Tasman Islands. The 47-year-old former fisherman in 2007 co-founded a coastal conservation fund; in its first year, it saved some 50,000 seabirds from the depredations of feral cats. That initial success turned the founder of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys into a daringly innovative philanthropist.

In 2011, he launched the Pennicott Foundation and led the first-ever circumnavigation of Australia by rubber dinghy to raise money for conservation and polio eradication. The journey took 101 days, raised nearly $300,000 for polio vaccinations, and proved that clever risks can produce great rewards.

“When I die, I want to have made a difference in the world,” says Pennicott, who dedicates at least a quarter (and up to 85 percent, some years) of his annual profits to conservation and humanitarian issues.

To read the full interview with Robert Pennicott and story by National Geographic please follow the link.

For more information of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys please visit their website.

The Natural Environment – Australia’s Greatest Strength

Tourism Australia has revealed the outcomes of an international research project into how global consumers view Australia.  The research looked into what motivates them to visit and identifying the barriers and ‘triggers’ to travel to Australia.

Tourism Australia’s research has found that most markets have high expectations of Australia and, for those consumers that do visit, Australia performs strongly with the destination’s biggest strengths identified as its world class beauty, safe environment and welcoming people.

The research found that Australia is leading the world when it comes to the quality of its nature. 40% of respondents identified that nature is a ‘Top 5’ consideration when it comes to selecting a holiday destination, and Australia tops the ratings when it comes to world class beauty and natural environment.

Further major findings from the Australia Consumer Demand Research include:

  • Australia’s biggest strength is its world class nature, well regarded from all markets and core to our global tourism offering
  • The greatest drivers of international visitor demand to Australia are coastal (including beaches), aquatic and wildlife experiences, with Tropical North Queensland, Sydney and the Gold Coast continuing to rank highest for uniqueness and appeal
  • Australia rates No.1 for safety amongst those who have visited – people’s actual experiences scoring much higher than the perception of those who haven’t, particularly from India and lesser extent Indonesia and South Korea
  • Perceptions of Australia’s food and wine offering are mixed across markets, although rankings are very high amongst those who have visited and sampled, presenting significant future international marketing opportunities
  • Aspiration and intention to visit is very high across the board, however awareness of experiences within Australia and converting interest into actual visits for leisure or holiday travel is lower.

Tourism Australia MD Andrew McEvoy said the findings would contribute towards the industry achieving its Tourism 2020 goal, to increase tourism spending by up to $140b by the end of the decade, by improving understanding of consumers in Australia’s primary tourism export markets.

McEvoy also said, “By better understanding what motivates consumers in our key target markets, we’re clearly in a much better position to craft our message to convert awareness of our country into visits. It also gives Australian tourism operators valuable insights into how to adapt and develop their business to best attract new visitors”.

“We already know Australia has a rich array of unique and distinctive attractions and experiences to offer our visitors, but we need to keep our finger on the pulse of changing consumer preferences and expectations, particularly from Asian markets which are growing rapidly and undergoing significant demographic changes.”

“The findings suggest we’re already doing a lot right, in terms of where we are prioritising our resources and marketing activities. It’s encouraging, for example, that the highest levels of intention to visit are amongst Chinese and Indians, two of the markets Tourism Australia is most aggressively going after.”

“Equally, the survey has also identified some areas where the industry can up its game, including better promotion of our consistently high quality food and wine offering, where significant opportunities exist to strengthen what locals know to be core strength.”

To view the full research findings, follow the link or for more details on the Tourism 2020 Strategy please visit Tourism Australia’s website.

Certified Operators Walk Away Winners

The Australian state tourism awards held recently have announced Ecotourism Australia’s Certified operators as winners.

A big congratulations goes out to Quenten Agius and Aboriginal Cultural Tours and Sinclair’s Gully who were inducted into the SA Tourism Hall of Fame. Quenten Agius and Aboriginal Cultural Tours won the Indigenous Tourism  category for a third year in a row. Quenten also walked away with a Silver for Heritage and Cultural Tourism.

Sinclair’s Gully was inducted in to the SA Tourism Hall of Fame for receiving the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism for a third year in a row. They also claimed the Ecotourism Award and received a gold medal for the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Boutique Breweries category.

See below for the full list of Ecotourism Australia’s Certified operators who won at the 2012 State Tourism Awards:

The Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Award Winners

RACV 2012 Victorian Tourism Awards

The NSW Tourism Awards

  • Indigenous Tourism – Mutawintji Eco Tours/Tri State Safaris Climate Action Leader & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Major Tour and/or Transport Operators – Moonshadow Cruises Ecotourism Certified
  • Tour and/or Transport Operators – Tri State Safaris Climate Action Leader & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Unique Accommodation – Somewhere UniqueClimate Action Innovator & Nature Tourism Certified 

The Queensland Tourism Awards

  • The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism – Wings Diving Adventures Advanced Ecotourism
  • Major Tour and/or Transport Operators – Quicksilver Group Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Tour and/or Transport Operators – Ocean Rafting Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Adventure Tourism – Ocean Rafting Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism – Reef HQ Aquarium ROC, Climate Action Business & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Health and Wellbeing Tourism – Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Ecotourism Certified

The South Australian Tourism Awards

The Tasmanian Tourism Awards

The WA Tourism Awards