Fun Over Fifty launch fantastic, innovative Green Guest Policy

Ecotourism Australia certified operator, Fun Over Fifty Pty Ltd, this month officially launched its innovative carbon reduction program with their first Green Guest Policy traveller aboard. The Green Guest Policy (coined GGP) was created to manage sustainable tourism with a highly innovative and different approach, by presenting to the customer an option where “it costs less to contribute.”

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When Laurie Bent from NSW booked the Fun Over Fifty `Grand Queensland Coast, Great Barrier Reef & Pristine Islands’ tour, in March 2015, he was offered and selected an ecoClean option for no room servicing for his three night stay at Advanced Ecotourism certified Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island. Unbeknownst to Laurie, he set into motion the Fun Over Fifty Green Guest Policy which lay in wait since it’s conception in February 2015. In the process Laurie immediately saved valuable dollars off the total tour price, and gained the satisfaction of knowing he had deliberately chosen to reduce his use of limited resources which, for him were unnecessary.

With the slogan, “It costs less to contribute”, the Fun Over Fifty Green Guest Policy (GGP) was developed to reduce the company’s overall environmental impact by encouraging guests to adopt the policy with a powerful incentive – PRICE. When it came to developing this carbon reduction scheme, CEO Toni Brennan said the policy, “needed to be different, and to cost less than the standard tour price.”

The offer of rooms not being serviced in hotel green programs is not new, but many hoteliers do not reduce the price of the room, preferring to rely on green-minded travellers to do the right thing, such as hanging up towels or leaving a green card on the bed or door.

The GGP difference is that guests choose the option upfront at the tour booking stage and receive an overall tour price reduction at the beginning, adding a tangible incentive to participate. The benefits for the hospitality industry is that it helps for them to be able to plan and allocate servicing levels prior to guest arrival.

“We are conscience not to affect employment with this policy”, says Toni. “As Tour Operators we believe that we can be important contributors to Sustainable Tourism Development. We are proud to commit to managing and monitoring the environmental, cultural and social impacts of our activities.” Fun Over Fifty tours visit every Australian State and Territory, the impact per region is slight but overall it is significant, and such an initiative as the GGP is one way this operator is making a difference.

 To find out more about Fun Over Fifty, visit their website.

Photo Caption: Kingfisher Bay Resort Assistant Manager, Corey Law was there to greet Mr. Bent on arrival along with Fun Over Fifty Tour Hostess, Anita Taylor to celebrate the launch of the Fun Over Fifty Green Guest Policy.

Skytrek Willow Springs Station Achieve Nature Tourism Certification

Nature Tourism CertifiedCongratulations to Skytrek Willow Springs Station for achieving Nature Tourism certification!

Willow Springs Station is a typical working sheep station in the Flinders Ranges that offers true bush hospitality and quiet, secluded settings. They offer private and comfortable accommodation for small or large groups, and bush campsites with amenities. In addition to their accommodation offering, Willow Springs also offer 4WDing on the popular Skytrek, Guided 4WD tours on and off the property, and marked walking trails.

The Reynolds family have been operating the Station, and now the ecotourism destination, since the mid-1900’s. They strive to educate their guests on sustainability, and encourage them to reduce their carbon footprint, while offering a unique and genuine bush experience. The Reynolds family also work closely with the Ecosystems Management Understanding Program (EMU), a South Australian initiative to gain greater awareness of ecosystem components and linkages, and take a holistic approach to property management beyond the property boundary, that is improving production, environmental and social outcomes. Check out the video below, which highlights their efforts with the EMU program.

Find out more about Skytrek Willow Springs Station here.

Find out more about ECO certification here.

 

Bushfood Factory and Café achieve Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certification

Congratulations to Bushfood Factory & Café who have been recognised for their sustainability efforts – achieving both Ecotourism certification and Climate Action Business certification.

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The Bushfood Factory & Café was born from the owner’s values of environmental respect and protection. The attraction has gone on to become an exciting food experience in Western Australia. This unique jewel encompasses all aspects of Australian native food herbs and fruits, from the plantation to the table.

To find out more about Bushfood Factory & Café visit their website here.

For more information on Ecotourism Australia’s certification and certified operators visit our website.

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre achieves Advanced Ecotourism Certification

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Congratulations to Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre for achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification.

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. Marine Turtles are brought in to the Centre and are treated and rehabilitated with support from the Marlin Coast Veterinary Hospital who volunteer their services to help enable the recovery of the turtles.

The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, located on Fitzroy Island is a public education facility which allows visitors to learn about the history of the organisation, threats facing turtles and the marine environment and the journey to recovery for the injured or sick turtles prior to their release back into the ocean.

The Centre also offers daily Interpretive Tours:  Entrance is by Donation of $5.50 per Adult and $2.20 per Child.

Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre are only able to continue their important work due to the support received from local businesses, the public and a team of 54 experienced volunteers. ECO certified tourism operators can directly contribute to action to protect marine turtles through assistance with fundraising or via sponsorship of a turtle in the centre to provide for its food bill.

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For more information on the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre or to see how you can get involved visit their website here or contacting Jennie Gilbert at jennifer.gilbert@my.jcu.edu.au.

For more information on Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification, please visit our website here.

Congratulations Coodlie Park on achieving Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certification

Coodlie Park has achieved Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certification.

Coodlie Park Farm Retreat offers a “surprisingly different” accommodation experience. Set on a large rural property with extensive facilities for visitors, Coodlie Park is located on the coast between Mount Camel Surf Beach and the spectacular Talia Caves (about 50 kilometers west of Elliston).Coodlie Park offers a unique wilderness experience on the property. Guests can enjoy their own private beach, cliff-top walk with outstanding views and Australian wildlife like kangaroos, native birds, emus and wombats.

Nullarbor Traveller, Great Australian Bight Safaris and Xplore Eyre operate under the umbrella of Australian Wildlife Adventures – showcasing the Real Australia. Tours operate between Adelaide and Perth (include the Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Nullarbor, Esperance, Albany and Margaret River.

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For more information on Coodlie Park, visit their website here.

For more information on Ecotourism Australia’s ECO and ROC certification, please visit our website here.

How tourists see ECO certification

A recent study conducted in the Wet Tropics World Heritage listed area and surrounds, in Queensland, has revealed some valuable insights into visitor attitudes towards ECO certification programs. It found differences in perceptions depending on visitor characteristics and the types of tourism products on offer, with some interesting results.

Overall, visitors under the age of 50 were found to place higher importance on the environment and conservation efforts by operators than older visitor groups, while overall, females placed higher importance on environmental responsibility than males.

Visitors judged the performance of ECO certified operators to be higher than non-ECO certified operators and customer satisfaction was found to be higher at ECO certified accommodations.

Research found that the attributes of ECO certification, including; nature, interpretation, environmental sustainability, conservation and community, were deemed more important at accommodations than at attractions and on tours. This suggests that in accommodations, the alignment between the attributes of the ECO scheme and the visitor perception of these attributes is at a positive level. The fact that these attributes were not considered as important at attractions and on tours within a World Heritage listed focus area is quite surprising. The lower importance scores at attractions and on tours indicate there is a potential need for increased effort in raising public awareness on the importance of the attributes of ECO certification.

When it comes to nature, aesthetic appeal was rated more highly than ecological processes. While guests were generally concerned about the state of the environment, they showed more concern for aesthetic appeal than for the ecological processes associated with achieving and maintaining it. The study also found that visitors yearn for a deeper sense of connection with nature and community. Interestingly, interpretation was deemed more important by visitors than conservation, environment and community. These findings indicate that while visitors like to feel a ‘sense of place’, achieved through interpretation, they might be missing any underlying messages on conservation, environment and community.

Guests also valued green practices more highly when they were guest-related as opposed to focusing on reducing negative ecological impact, which oftentimes is a behind-the-scenes focus. They were more likely to make choices based on environmental aspects if they were able to see or feel them directly. This suggests that visitors respond better to ECO attributes if they feel that they are making a positive contribution themselves and are able to witness the benefits firsthand.

These research findings give us valuable insights into the effectiveness of ECO certification programs, and indicate areas that could do with improvement, providing the opportunity for forward movement. The overall positive findings on the high performance levels of ECO certified operators in comparison to non-ECO certified operators comes as great news for those operators already certified, and provides incentive for others to consider joining the ECO scheme.

For more information on the study, click here.

For information on ECO certification, visit Ecotourism Australia’s website here.

Winners of the Qantas National Tourism Awards Announced

The 2012 Qantas National Tourism Awards were held last friday, 15 February 2013 and once again this year, the efforts of many of our certified operators have been recognised!

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Congratulations to the following award winners for this great achievement!

Bruny Island Cruises , TAS – Tourist Attractions Award & Ecotourism Award Winner

Advanced Ecotourism– www.peppermintbay.com.au

Emaroo Port Hughes, SA – Deluxe Accommodation Award Winner

Nature Tourism – www.emaroocottages.com.au

Narnu Farm, SA – Standard Accommodation Award Winner

Climate Action Business – www.narnufarm.com.au

Ocean Rafting, QLD – Tour and/or Transport Operators Award Winner

Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Innovator – www.oceanrafting.com

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, TAS – Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award Winner

Advanced Ecotourism – www.pennicottjourneys.com.au

The Maria Island Walk, TAS – Adventure Tourism Award Winner

Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business – www.pennicottjourneys.com.au

Venture North Australia, NT – Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award Winner

Advanced Ecotourism & ROC – www.venturenorth.com.au

YellowWater Cruises – Gagudju Lodge Cooinda, NT – Major Tour and/or Transport Operators Winner

Ecotourism – www.gagudju-dreaming.com

Congratulations go out also to the operators who have won Silver and Bronze awards in diverse categories:

  • Eco Beach Broome, WA – Unique Accommodation Silver Award
  • Jacob’s Restaurant, Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre, SA – Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services Bronze Award
  • Mutawintji Eco Tours/Tri State Safairs, NSW – Indigenous Tourism Silver Award
  • Ocean Rafting, QLD – Adventure Tourism Bronze Award
  • Out of Sights Tours, WA – Ecotourism Bronze Award
  • Quicksilver Group, QLD – Major Tour and/or Transport Operators Silver
  • Rawnsley Park Eco-Villas, SA – Unique Accommodation Bronze Award
  • Sinclair’s Gully, SA – Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Silver Award
  • The Maria Island Walk, TAS – Tour and/or Transport Operators Bronze
  • Tri State Safari’s, NSW – Tour and/or Transport Operators Silver

To see a full list of the 2012 Award Winners please visit the website.