Ecotourism Australia Certified Businesses Reach $1.11B P/Year

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Last year Ecotourism Australia’s certified businesses combined annual revenue reached over a billion dollars for the first time. This year the total has reached $1.11B!

“This huge result demonstrates the resilience and growth potential of tour operators who focus on delivering quality products” said Rod Hillman, CEO of Ecotourism Australia. “The Ecotourism industry in Australia is making huge strides forward with a 6% growth in revenue over the past year”

  • The combined annual revenue of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators rose by 6% in 2014/15 to $1.11B.
  • Using the Tourism Research Australia (TRA) multiplier of 1.9 shows the financial contribution of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators in 2014/15 is $2.12B.
  • Victoria has shown the highest individual State increase with a staggering 23% growth in combined revenue during 2014/15 with the certified operators contributing revenue of nearly $160M for the year.
  • Queensland remains the engine room of ecotourism in Australia with a 7% increase in 2014/15 and a combined revenue of over $560M pouring into their economy from the hard work of their Ecotourism Australia certified operators.
  • NSW added solid growth of 14% generating close to $135M to their economy.
  • WA is steady in its contribution of $112M.
  • SA, Tasmania and NT struggled in a tough year with small reductions but still contributed over $150M to their economies.

“Australia’s ecotourism operators have focused on quality and yield” said Rod Hillman, CEO Ecotourism Australia, “This has been demonstrated by Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators making up 40% of the finalists at the 2014 Tourism Awards, a third of all winners at the awards and 20% of all sellers at the 2015 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE). Not a bad effort by a group of 500 hundred of Australia’s best tour operators!”

The vast majority of ecotourism operators are based in regional centres creating sustainable jobs, development and a sense of pride within the community. Each and every Ecotourism Australia certified operator has committed to delivering quality tourism products, running a sustainable business and making direct contributions to the environment they work in and the community they live in.

Over a quarter of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators have been certified continuously for longer than ten years, many fifteen years and more, clearly demonstrating the sustainability of our industry and the value they place in Ecotourism Australia’s certification.


Rod Hillman – 0427 279 414

T: +61 7 3252 1530 | F: +61 7 3257 0331 | E:
Office: 6/67 O’Connell Terrace, Bowen Hills QLD 4006

Congratulations To Peninsula Hot Springs

Congratulations to Peninsula Hot Springs on achieving Nature Tourism certification for their Natural Thermal Mineral Spring Baths that offer a great opportunity for guests to enjoy nature and relax.

Officially opened in 2005, Peninsula Hot Springs (PHS) is the first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria, located just 90 minutes from Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into more than 30 pools, private baths and other bathing experiences from a geothermal aquifer 637 metres below the surface. Peninsula Hot Springs is a multi-award winning ecotourism attraction that sees more than 440,000 visitors per year. Entering the bathing area is like stepping into another world, a sanctuary where mind and body can relax in the beautiful natural surrounds.

Peninsula Hot Springs focuses on balancing the relationship between business and environment, incorporating sound environmental practices into every facet from initial construction through to daily management. They work towards the ultimate goal of developing an ecotourism facility which is recognised as a world leader in environmentally sound, minimal impact resort management. Well on their way to achieving this goal, they have introduced projects and policies for the protection and re-vegetation if their surrounding indigenous landscape, weed and pest management, protection of potential Aboriginal archaeological sites, waste, water and energy consumption.

Peninsula Hot Springs have also developed a climate change action policy through the engagement of an environmental consultant, which promises to educate guests on relevant environmental issues and climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their environmental impact, and sourcing local, sustainable produce and engaging sustainable service providers.

To find out more about Peninsula Hot Spring, please 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.

Congratulations to Dolphin Swim Australia

Congratulations to Dolphin Swim Australia for achieving Ecotourism Certification for their innovative tours that offer dolphins the opportunity to swim with humans!

Situated at Nelson Bay NSW, north of Sydney, Dolphin Swim Australia (DSA) provides a once in a lifetime experience for guests to jump into the wild world of oceanic dolphins within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. The unique approach to wild dolphin swims incorporates innovative approach techniques never before seen in the industry, with the over-arching difference being that the dolphins choose to swim to with humans! The program has been subject to stringent monitoring and compliance operations to ensure that no harm comes to the dolphins, or any other marine life, or any guests.

The “swim with” experience offered by DSA took over four years to develop, with extensive in-house monitoring and research on the dolphin population, the development of an independent and ongoing monitoring and research project by dolphin expert, Dr Carol Scarpaci, from Victoria University, and in close collaboration with the Marine Park Authority NSW and the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.

Each of DSA’s certified tours take place on the vessel, Imagine, which avoids disturbance to marine-life with it’s low-level engine noise and shrouded propellers, and has been fitted with rope rigging between its two bows. Guests are harnessed to the rope and the “swim with” experience occurs if the wild dolphins decide to entertain themselves by swimming to the boat, bow-riding and investigating the humans.

DSA operates to a strict environmental management plan to protect the dolphins and other marine life, and the delicate ecosystem in which they operate. Through the stringent processes involved with the planning of DSA, they have become closely involved with wild dolphin research in collaboration with NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and Victoria University, and their goal is to educate all guests on the dolphins they encounter, as well as the broader marine ecosystem and marine park environment.

Dolphin Swim Australia has achieved Ecotourism certification for their tours; Wild Dolphin Swim, and The Best Wild Dolphin Watch on Planet Earth. To find out more about them, or to explore availability, please visit their website.

Congratulations to Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours Margaret River

Congratulations to Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours Margaret River for achieving Ecotourism certification for their Adventure Tours!

Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours focus on providing small groups of people a fantastic personalised adventure experience in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. Their adventure tours incorporate activities such as kayaking, surfing, mountain biking as well as exploring the regions renowned wineries and breweries.

The team at Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours work hard to minimise their impact on, and protect the environment in which they operate. They are committed to ensuring that all of their tours are conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner, and aim to maintain a positive balance in their relationships with the local economy, community, and environment.

Director, Paul Berry, works with the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park to help reach their conservation objectives, and operates tours with an aim to leave the areas that they venture into on a better state than when they arrived by carrying out any trace of their visit, and collecting rubbish they encounter along the way. Sustainability has been incorporated into every facet of the business, from “switch off” policies in office operations, to closely monitoring their carbon emissions and energy use, to monitoring track conditions and working with the National Park to mitigate concerns.

A core foundation of Surf N’ Dirt Adventure Tours is to educate guests on the ecological significance of the Margaret River region and to promote conservation of all environmental areas, ensuring that the environment is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Surf N’ Dirt’s website is currently under development, you can find out more about them on their Facebook page.

Congratulations to Cooloola Eco Tours

Congratulations to Cooloola Eco Tours for achieving Ecotourism and Respecting Our Culture (ROC) Certifications for its tours; Cafe & Culture Tour, Tastebud-Tag-along Tour and the Eat-Drink-Walk Tour.

Cooloola Eco Tours is situated on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, operating within the Cooloola Recreation Area of the Great Sandy National Park, and based at Rainbow Beach. They aim to provide a natural, sustainable and cultural recreational experience for visitors with an emphasis on fun, education, appreciation of the environment and traveller responsibility. At the same time, they focuses on protecting the natural environment in which they operate and reducing their impact.

Cooloola Eco Tours work hard to keep their environmental impact to a minimum across all areas of their business operation, from using only recycled materials for their business cards and brochures, to working closely with their local community to produce carrier bags for their guests, and sourcing local and regional produce to showcase on all of their tours. Guests enjoy the ultimate Rainbow Beach experience, from the sand in their toes, right through to the food they eat.

Cooloola Eco Tours has many bright goals for the future, striving for continuous improvement, particularly when it comes to sustainability. Their website is currently under development, however, you can find out more about Cooloola Eco Tours by visiting their Facebook page here.

Congratulations to Cumberland Yacht Charters

Congratulations to Cumberland Charter Yachts for achieving Ecotourism certification for their vessel hire, self-sail, and Skipper Yourself Holidays!

CCY Logo with TextLocated at Airlie Beach in the stunning Whitsundays, Cumberland Charter Yachts have been offering bareboading holidays for 30 years. Their longevity is testament of their dedication to tourism and commitment in providing outstanding vessels and excellent customer service, it is their mission to exceed their clients holiday expectations.

Guests have the opportunity to skipper their own bareboat around the wonderful Whitsunday Islands, Cumberland offers a modern fleet with something to suit everyone, including; sailing and power catamarans, sailing yachts and fly bridge motor cruisers in a range of sizes. Experience star filled nights in tranquil anchorages, visit secluded bays and explore rainforest covered Islands. Sail to the world famous Whitehaven Beach and snorkel the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reed Marine Park, all at your own pace!

Cumberland take care to protect the fragile reef environment through active participation in the Clean Seas initiative, Eyes and Ears reporting, COTS monitoring and the Eye on the Reef program. They ensure all guests are comfortable, confident and have ready access to all the information they may need on Marine Park rules, regulations and zoning, and responsible reef practices, as well as educational material on the Ngaro Reef Trail and cultural sites, island and reef habitats.

Their decision to become Eco accredited was not driven by economic gains but focus on educating their clients on travelling green. By opting for an ecotourism experience/holiday over a conventional tourism package guests are making a conscious decision to reduce their impact.

They are also actively involved with their community, regularly donating their time and raising funds for worthy local and national causes, community members and groups in need.

Find out more about Cumberland Yacht Charters here.

View their Green Travel Guide listing here.