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

GBRMPA Release Outlook Report 2014

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has just released their Outlook Report 2014, and with it some positive statistics for tourism, and for ECO certified tourism operators within the Marine Park.

Tourism in the area has seen a sustained recovering in 2012 and 2013, positive news after a 16 per cent decline in tourist numbers between 2005 and 2011. In 2013, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park saw visits by close to 1.9 million tourists on commercial tourism operations, with tourism continuing to make a significant contribution to management, presentation, and economic value of the Great Barrier Reef.

In the 2011-12 financial year, tourism in the Great Barrier Reef and its catchment area contributed approximately$5.2 billion to the Australian Economy and made up 90 per cent of all full-time positions derived from the Great Barrier Reef. The total economic contribution made through commercial and non-commercial use was close to $5.6 billion.

In 2013, 64% of tourists visiting the Great Barrier Reef chose tourism operations with Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification. The number of reef-based tourism operations with ECO certification has also seen a steady increase, from 44 operators in 2009 to 64 in 2013.

GBRMPA monitors the conduct of all tourism operations, particularly those within areas of high use and sensitivity, and the impacts of tourism are localised to a few intensively managed areas. GBRMPA aim to minimise the negative impacts of tourism on the reef by such means as capping permit types, defining maximum group and vessel sizes in individual locations, and rewarding tourism operators with ECO certification with extended permits and marketing benefits. The tourism industry within the park is a key partner in its protection and management, with tourism operators acting as active stewards of the Reef and High Standard Tourism Operators demonstrating their commitment to ecologically sustainable use of the reef through independently seeking ECO certification.

To read the full report, click here.

To find out more about ECO certification, click here.

QTIC and AMPTO react to GBRMPA’s decision

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) and the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) have joined Ecotourism Australia in expressing their disappointment following the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s decision to allow the dumping of 3.5 million cubic metres of port dredge from Abbot Point Coal Port into the waters of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

Credit: Charlotte Hellings-Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises-Advanced Ecotourism-Green Island QLD

QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said QTIC supports economic development of Queensland’s four pillar economy and the benefits that port development will provide.

“As the State’s peak body for tourism, QTIC affirms its strong position that the interests of the tourism industry must remain significant and a priority alongside other government interests, particularly in regard to port development and the environmental protection of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Gschwind said.

“QTIC has joined with the marine tourism industry which is also vehemently opposed to the dumping of the dredge spoil in the marine park. Alternatives have been advocated, including the construction of trestle loading facilities that would not require dredging. Our concerns focus on the potential impact on water quality from the suspension and re-suspension of the dredge material, sedimentation of adjacent reefs and coastlines, impact on the broader ecosystem and also the reputational impact from such action.”, he added.

Quicksilver OBR

Credit: Quicksilver Cruises-Advanced Ecotourism certified-Port Douglas QLD

AMPTO published their submission on the Great Barrier Reef strategic assessment on Friday 31st January following the announcement. The organisation declared to be “extremely disappointed” in the Draft Strategic Assessment.

“The document totally fails to address the holistic and cumulative effects of proposed infrastructure works and services associated with the mining boom on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). In our opinion to have the document say that the effects of dredging are a moderate threat is inconceivable and totally ignores reality. Unfortunately, it would appear that it is almost inevitable that AMPTO is heading towards major conflict, political action and potentially legal challenges with the GBRMPA over dredging.”

Read the full strategic assessment from AMPTO here. For more information visit their website.

For more information about QTIC, visit their website.

Lets promote tourism – not destroy it

Ecotourism Australia has joined Australia’s other peak tourism bodies expressing their concern over the dumping of 3.5 million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park waters.

“Tourism is a major driver of the economy and is a stated pillar of the State’s development so all government actions should be to improve the visitor’s experience and protect the tourism asset’ said Rod Hillman – CEO of Ecotourism Australia.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association and Dive Queensland have all been clear in stating their opposition to the method of disposal of the spoil from the Abbot point development and requesting that they do not issue a permit to allow this.

“At a time of challenge in the tourism industry GBRMPA has an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership and continue its excellent stewardship role it has delivered over many years. As guardians of the reef, we encourage GBRMPA to consider the long term benefits of a sustainable tourism industry when determining the outcome of this permit for disposal.” Said Rod Hillman – CEO of Ecotourism Australia

ENDS: For further information contact:

Rod Hillman, Chief Executive, M: 0427 279 414 or 0732 521 530