Profile of an ‘EcoPro’

Fiona Sleight of EcoPro Consultancy provides independent certification auditing services to Ecotourism Australia and has shared some insights into the role.

Fiona SleightThe success of the Ecotourism Australia certification programs is, I believe, its brand recognition which allows visitors to Australia to support accredited operators. Rigorous onsite audit of the adherence to certification standards play an integral role in maintaining the quality of Australian Ecotourism experiences.

I became an Auditor for Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs in 2005 when I established EcoPro Consultancy. I bring to the role a range of experience in Policy Development, Business Sustainability Assessment, Marketing and Tourism Operational Practice with Post Graduate Certification in Protected Area Management.

A passion for the environment and qualification as a PADI SCUBA Diving Instructor led me to work within the tourism industry of North Queensland. Accredited as an EcoGuide, I worked as senior marine interpreter for Quicksilver Dive and was responsible for establishing the company’s Dwarf Minke Whale Encounter Tour. This allowed for my tour guiding to be at the cutting edge of minimum impact experiences and I was honoured in  2003 to be awarded the National EcoGuide Award for Excellence at the Adelaide Ecotourism Conference.

Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs are, in the first instance, based on self-assessment application. Subsequent onsite audits play a crucial role in monitoring and maintaining the credibility of these programs.  Onsite Audits aim to ensure certification standards are being met and to identify any required corrective actions. Auditors bring a wealth of experience to the process and provide tourism operators with an opportunity to discuss areas for future innovation and ongoing improvement. Qualification as a RABQSA Environmental Management Systems Auditor/Lead Auditor is required to conduct onsite certification audit services for Ecotourism Australia.

I am privileged to have conducted audits at many superb locations and with some truly inspiring tourism operators in both Queensland and Victoria. My role as an auditor is rewarding and continues to highlight to me the extraordinary richness of Australia’s natural assets and the growing diversity of sustainable tourism ventures, which offer a range of awe- inspiring experiences to visitors in Australia. ’

EcoPro Consultancy provides professional services to tourism operators to facilitate the process of tourism certification and guide the development of environmental management systems, emissions audit and best practice in sustainable tourism.

If you would like to contact Fiona, you can reach her on 0427 236 923 or at fiona@ecopro.com.au

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