Congratulations To Straddie Camping

Congratulations to Straddie Camping on achieving the trifecta of Ecotourism Australia certification: Advanced Ecotourism, Respecting Our Culture, and Climate Action Business certifications!

Straddie Camping offers a diverse range of camping and accommodation options across various locations on North Stradbroke Island. They have just achieved Advanced Ecotourism certification for their campsites at Cylinder Beach, Adder Rock and Amity Point. Straddie Camping offer a more ‘back to nature’ camping getaway, with hundreds of powered and un-powered camping sites nestled among sand dunes overlooking the island’s iconic beaches.

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Straddie Camping are dedicated to protecting their environment, are actively working towards neutralising their carbon footprint, and have recently implemented a carbon offset option for all guests. They are also heavily engaged with the local Quandamooka community and offer a number of cultural experiences run by Indigenous guides, including interactive and educational demonstrations by local Indigenous artists and storytellers.

“Through consultations with our Elders and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, we work together to protect our lands and sea country in many ways, including taking part in cultural heritage management, Environmental Impact Assessments, negotiating over developments, educating the public and maintaining land and sea management responsibilities. Caring for our Country is our business.”

North Stradbroke Island is accessible by Ferry, and is an easy drive from both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, making it a fantastic weekender destination, but the Island has so much to offer, you’ll want to make it an extended getaway!

Find out more here: http://www.straddiecamping.com.au/home

Learn more about Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs here.

Oz Whale Watching’s Sponsor Turtle Making Great Progress

Advanced Ecotourism certified Operator Oz Whale Watching, based in Sydney Harbour, are delighted to report on the positive progress of ‘Jude’ their sponsored green turtle whom they named during 2014.

‘Jude’ is a patient at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre having been found stranded in Cape Tribulation and suffering starvation. Initially admitted to the Cairns Turtle Intensive Care Centre, ‘Jude’ has gained strength enabling his transfer to the Fitzroy Island Rehabilitation Centre facility. Jude will now undergo a rehabilitation period to achieve optimum weight before being released back into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Oz Whale Watching will provide updates of Jude’s journey on their website and on their Facebook page.

Tourism Operators and their guests are encouraged to become involved and directly contribute to action to conserve marine turtles via sponsorship of a turtle patient.

For information contact Fiona Sleight at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre via their website  or their Facebook page.

Congratulations To Sydney Princess Cruises And Oz Whale Watching

Congratulations to Sydney Princess Cruises Oz Whale Watching on achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification for its tours, including: Oz Whale Watching, Sydney Harbour Discovery, and Sydney Princess Cruises Charters.

Sydney Princess Cruises provide a range of scheduled cruises and private function events on or from the beautiful Sydney Harbour. They also cater to your needs for birthdays, corporate, weddings or any special event.  A variety of tour packages include breakfast or lunch and cater to both adults and young children, and they include an informative, educational element to ensure guests receive the best experience offerable.

Sydney Princess Cruises have implemented several eco initiatives, including monitoring their emissions with an Australian government endorsed emissions calculator, they are active participants in Wild About Whales Sightings Network Whale Migration Monitoring Program, community fundraising for marine conservation projects, as well as contributing to and supporting other ECO Certified operators throughout Australia, such as the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center, where they have sponsored a recovering sea turtle named Jude.

Tours depart from King Street Wharf in Lime Street, Sydney NSW. To find out more about Sydney Princess Cruises,click here. To find out more about Oz Whale Watching, click here.

To find out more about Advanced Ecotourism certification, click here.

Exciting New Green Initiatives

We have been getting excited about a number of new green initiatives popping up across Australia and across the world recently!

New South Wales is introducing a Cash for Containers initiative to combat landfill and pollution issues and encourage people to recycle. The initiative may see “reverse vending machines” installed across the State!

Meanwhile, San Francisco is set to be the first country to ban the bottle all together! In a bold move toward pollution control, San Francisco has just become the first city in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, a move that is building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry.

Uralla NSW, is to become the State’s first town to be off the energy grid!  With strong community support, the small town is pursuing solar energy options to transition the whole town to renewable energy. Bingara, Manilla, Glen Innes and Tenterfield are trailing closely behind.

Costa Rica is already getting around 94% of its energy from clean, renewable sources and it’s set to hit 100% by 2021!

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are placing a ban on smoking in all of their National Parks to reduce littering and fire risks.

Denmark has set a world record for wind power production! The European pioneer for wind power production installed their first turbines in the mid-1970s and now wind power accounts for over 39% of the country’s total electricity. They’re aiming for 50% by 2020.

 Have you heard about any new green initiatives? Please share them with us in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!

Ecotourism Australia Sponsors Ecotourism Category At 2014 Australian Tourism Awards

Ecotourism Australia is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring the ecotourism category in the 2014 Australian Tourism Awards.

The Australian Tourism Awards are Australian tourism industry’s peak Awards, recognising and promoting excellence in tourism. The Awards showcase the winning tourism experiences from each State Tourism Awards. We have been proud to see that over 50% of all eligible finalists are ECO certified, and that all finalists in the Ecotourism category are ECO certified.

The Ecotourism Category aims to recognise ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.

Ecotourism Australia’s CEO, Rod Hillman, will be present at the Awards Ceremony and is looking forward to networking with all finalists on the evening.

Congratulations again to our certified operators in the Ecotourism category:

 Find our more about ECO certification here.

Audits Planned For NSW, QLD, NT And TAS Between March And June

We’re excited to announce that as part of Ecotourism Australia’s partnership with Conservation Volunteers (CV), on-site audits of ECO certified operators will be conducted across New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania between the months of March and June. This follows successful audits conducted on Victorian operators under the partnership over the December/January period.

On-site audits every three years are a core requirement of the ECO Certification Program, necessary to ensure compliance to our standards. The audits also provide the perfect opportunity for operators to speak with an environmental specialist, seek advice and feedback on current or planned initiatives, and showcase their hard work. Through EA’s partnership with CV, we hope to eliminate any negativity attached to auditing. The audit process is designed to be a supportive, constructive and communicative process helping operators to improve, not to merely seek out flaws or inadequacies.

Operators subject to audit are given 21 days’ notice, and on the day the audit process usually takes around three hours. As well as inspecting accommodations, facilities and tour vehicles or vessels, auditors review the documents that an operator in required to submit for their application to ensure they have been kept up-to-date. These plans include; business, marketing and operational management plans, environmental management and interpretation plans. Audits are also an opportunity for operators to upgrade to a higher level of certification if they have introduced new initiatives since they achieved certification.

We are looking forward to hearing more about our certified businesses and their operations, learning about new initiatives that may have been introduced, and further supporting our members commitment to strong environmental and ecotourism principals.

 To find out more about Ecotourism Australia and Conservation Volunteer’s partnership and audit program, please contact the EA office.