Tri State Safaris help bring a brighter future for Vinaka Fiji

Towards the end of last year, Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action certified Tri State Safaris started a campaign to collect second-hand eye glasses to donate to local people of the Yasawa Island of Fiji. Over the past five months, they have collected over 60 pairs of specs and handed over their first donation to Vinaka Fiji.

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Almost five months have passed since the couple decided to help. In a recent newsletter, Tri State Safaris reported about their achievements and thanked participants. They have managed to collect more than 60 pair of glasses, with numbers constantly growing. In February, owners Mick and Joanna met up with Elle, a representative of Vinaka Fijii, and handed over their first donations (pictured). Elle was positively overwhelmed by the generosity of Tri State Safaris and their extended community.

Tri State Safaris was established in 1992, running tours from Broken Hill to Broome. Owners, Mick and Joanne McCulkin, created the company out of the passion to share Australia’s Outback experience with like-minded adventurers. Whenever the couple is not busy with work, they enjoy travelling to Fiji’s Western Division, including Yasawa Island. It was during these trips that they came to realise a problem all too commonly encountered by locals; many had poor eye-sight and were unable to afford glasses.

Vinaka Fijii is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the quality of life for people living in poverty. As part of the project, Vinaka Fiji agreed to fix, clean and fairly distribute glasses to Fijians in need.

In their newsletter Tri State Safaris claims that their mission is not over yet and they will continue to collect glasses throughout this year.

If you have any old reading glasses, prescription glasses or sunglasses, don’t leave them to collect dust. Help change a life and take the time to send them to Tri State Safaris at P.O. Box 867, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880.

Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation introduce the human hamster wheel!

Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Leader certified operator, Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation (also known as Jungle Surfing), have opened to the public the world’s first “Human Hamster Wheel” interactive cable lift as part of their Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour. The innovative and sustainable cable lift acts as a treadmill, using man-power to winch guests into the treetops for their Jungle Surfing adventure.

With no mainland electricity supply and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to preserve, the team at Jungle Surfing had to get creative and think outside of the box for a minimal impact solution for transferring their surfers skyward. It was over a light-hearted discussion in the staff hut that the concept of a Human Hamster Wheel was born.

“We’re extremely proud of the wheel which utilises customer power to introduce the concept of alternative/sustainable energy production as part of our tour experience. We think it’s pretty innovative, as do our customers” says Managing Director, Sheena Walshaw.

Jungle Surfing is situated in the pristine Daintree Rainforest at Cape Tribulation, 2 and a half hours North of Cairns. The Queensland Tourism Award-winning Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours take guests on a unique rainforest tour through the treetops using a series of flying fox ziplines. Surfers stop at five different tree platforms to soak up spectacular birds-eye views of the rainforest, cascading streams, and the Great Barrier Reef shoreline.

Jungle Surfing has a stong commitment to sustainable best practice, with the ultimate aim of becoming a carbon neutral tourism destination. Their mission is to be a benchmark and inspiration for their community and other tourism businesses in wilderness locations, and their goal is to protect and promote the pristine natural environment surrounding them through the provision of unique, adventurous and educational activities with sustainable operations and minimal environmental footprint.

They can’t promise you a cube of cheese for your efforts, but they can deliver epic views of a Jurassic world perched on the shoreline of the Great Barrier Reef. The team at Ecotourism Australia love what they’re about!

Visit the website: Jungle Surfing.

Learn more about the Human Hamster Wheel.

Congratulations to Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living

Congratulations to the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living (MCSL) for achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification for their self and guided tours, workshops and community centre.

Situated at Mount Annan, NSW, the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living is a fantastic not-for-profit, community-driven organisation supported by local Macarthur Councils and the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust. They are essentially an educational facility focused on sustainable technology. The Centre aims to celebrate Macarthur’s cultural diversity and explore sustainable living options with activities such as tours, festivals, markets, workshops, research, art, food, gardening and music. These activities favour cultural diversity and have a strong commitment to improve peoples’ awareness about sustainable living options.

The centre promotes sustainable living options, such as water and energy efficiency, waste avoidance and green space management, through its community educational programs and tours. The facility is entirely self-sufficient as it generates its own power (solar energy), recycles and reuses rain and waste water. An organic garden also belongs to the Centre and showcases different sustainable gardening principles, proudly maintained by volunteers. It conducts community educational programs and projects that build social capacity and empower individuals to embrace sustainable lifestyles. The Centre has also instated a Sustainability Committee to advise and monitor programs and educational material.

To find out more about Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living, click here.

Boat Club Adventure Cruises achieves Ecotourism Certification

Congratulations to Boat Club Adventure Cruises for achieving Ecotourism Certification for its tours; Whale Watch Cruise, Mary River Cruise, Great Sandy Straits Cruise and Activity Cruise.

Boat Club Adventure Cruises offer a range of affordable cruise options to showcase the beauty & diversity of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, and The Great Sandy Marine Park. Tours depart from Hervey Bay and showcase the best of the region, its wildlife and natural beauty. With more than 15 years of experience the crew around Captain Phil House delivers a remarkable experience, transferring his great knowledge and passion to all guests. Cruises provide unforgettable opportunities to see dolphins, dugongs, turtles, and abundant bird species in the protected wetland area, as well as a chance to witness the annual humpback whale migration.

Boat Club Adventure Cruises has been awarded Ecotourism certification as a result of their sustainable best practice operations and motivation to increase visitor education and environmental awareness. They display great effort in incorporating a variety of eco-initiatives. They are active participants in the Eye on the Reef and Reef Rescue programs, they utilise vessels constructed to guarantee low impact on surrounding ecosystems and operate vessels with an aim to keep energy and water usage at a minimum, and they closely monitor and record all waste and environmental impacts.

Find out more about Boat Club Adventure Cruises here.

Find out more about ECO certification here

Congratulations To South West Eco Discoveries

Congratulations to South West Eco Discoveries for achieving Nature Tourism Certification for their Eco Tours.

South West Eco Discoveries are a new tour operator based out of Abbey, WA with their half day Eco Tours taking guests through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in WA’s Margaret River region. Tours operate all year round and are tailored to suit each season to ensure guests always receive the best experience possible.

Owned and operated by brothers and experienced guides, Michael and Ryan White, with a life-time of local knowledge to share, South West Eco Discoveries pride themselves on providing comfortable, well-catered tours that focus on the natural environment. Obtaining Nature Tourism certification right off the bat, they strive to keep their environmental impact to a bare minimum and keep in close communication with the National Park to help achieve their conservation goals.

South West Eco Discoveries has a deep respect for the natural environment in which they operate, and they are passionate about helping guests appreciate the ecological vulnerability of the National Park. During tours Michael and Ryan share their knowledge and educate their guests on how they can reduce their impact and contribute positively to the environment. This remains at the core of their business and is evident right through from their SATRA tested footwear, to recycling old abalone shells caught by professional fishermen to use as souvenirs, to Michael’s involvement with the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife as a volunteer reptile handler.

To find out more about South West Eco Discoveries, visit their website.

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.

Audit Program Progress

In July last year Ecotourism Australian launched our audit partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia. Since that time the extensive audit program has rolled out across the country and to date, 67 audits of certified operators have been completed across Victoria, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, with more planned!

The purpose of these on-site audits is to monitor and maintain compliance of our operators in keeping with the core requirements of the our Certification Programs, which stipulate that on-site audits must be conducted. The audit process also provides a great opportunity for operators to engage with an experienced and knowledgeable expert in the ecotourism industry. It also offers the perfect opportunity for operators to speak with a tourism and environmental specialist, seek advice and feedback on current or planned initiatives, and showcase their hard work. All auditors have undergone formal audit qualifications and have significant experience in tourism and environmental management. To ensure impartiality and transparency all auditors are independent third parties contracted and managed through Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Conservation Volunteers is Australasia’s leading practical conservation organisation, having partnered with individuals, businesses and governments to manage conservation projects across Australia and New Zealand since 1982. They manage volunteer programs around Australia and across the world, supporting volunteer participation in a diverse range of important projects to protect and enhance our environment. Their experience and expertise in environmental management makes them the perfect partner to manage the onsite audit program for our certification programs.

Feedback from audited operators has been very positive and the auditors have been impressed with the quality of certified operators. Through the implementation and completion of audits the integrity and vigor of Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs are upheld.

If you would like to know more about our audit partnership with Conservation Volunteers, please contact our office.

(Pictured: Consevation Volunteers in action)