A third of all 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Award Winners are ECO certified!

Ecotourism Australia certified operators took home a third of all awards at the 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, presented at a Gala dinner in Adelaide last week.

The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards celebrate the epitome of excellence in the Australian tourism industry. A broad and diverse range of tourism businesses enter their state and territory Tourism Awards, the winners of which progress through the National Awards as finalists.

This year, Ecotourism Australia proudly sponsored the Ecotourism category, and we were pleased to see that all finalists in the Ecotourism category were ECO certified. Further more, over 40% of all eligible finalists across all categories were ECO certified! The National awards are a clear demonstration of the high calibre of operators choosing Ecotourism Australia and joining a network committed to sustainable best practice and premium quality experiences.

Ecotourism Australia certified operators won a total of eight Gold awards, ten Silver and seven Bronze, including all awards across the following categories:

  • Major Tour & Transport Operators
  • Adventure Tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Australian Tourism Legend

Also to be commended are Advanced Ecotourism certified Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. They took home two Gold awards for their product Bruny Island Cruises in the Ecotourism and Tourist Attraction categories, Gold for their product Tasmanian Seafood Seduction, the prestigious Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, and saw Robert Pennicott named an Australian Tourism Legend!

“In an age where quality is king, customers are increasingly choosing credible and authentic operators that can demonstrate their sustainability and commitment to high quality experiences. The sheer number of ECO certified operators recognised at these awards is a clear indication of this trend to quality” says Rod Hillman, Chief Executive.

We would like to congratulate and commend all of our certified operators for their phenomenal achievements in this years’ Awards program. Here is a full list of our certified award winners:

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (Advanced Ecotourism)

Australian Tourism Legend: Robert Pennicott (Pictured)

Major Tourist Attractions
Silver: Taronga Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)

Tourist Attractions
Gold: Bruny Island Cruises (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)
Bronze: Capricorn Caves (Advanced Ecotourism)

Ecotourism
Gold: Bruny Island Cruises (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: Out of Sight Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Heritage & Cultural Tourism
Silver: Venture North Australia (Advanced Ecotourism & Respecting Our Culture)

Indigenous Tourism 
Silver: Tri State Safaris/Mutawintji Eco Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Mossman Gorge Centre (Ecotourism and Respecting Our Culture)

Major Tour & Transport Operators
Gold: Par Avion Wilderness Tours (Nature Tourism)
Silver: SeaLink Ferries, Tours & Holiday Packages (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Cruise Whitsundays (Advanced Ecotourism)

Tour & Transport Operators
Silver: Fun Over Fifty Pty Ltd (Advanced Ecotourism, Ecotoruism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Adventure Tourism
Gold: Enchanted Adventure Garden & Tree Surfing (Ecotourism)
Silver: Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Unique Accommodation
Silver: Rawnsley Park Station Eco Villas (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)

Deluxe Accommodation
Gold: Yondah Beach House (Ecotourism)

New Tourism Development
Gold: Tasmanian Seafood Seduction (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: The Frames (Nature Tourism)

To see the complete list of award winners, please click here.

T-QUAL launches the Q-Factor Campaign

T-QUAL Accreditation is celebrating the people and the passion that represent Australia’s symbol of tourism quality, the T-QUAL Tick, through its ‘Q-Factor’ campaign launched today. The campaign puts the spotlight on quality tourism by showcasing some of the unique personalities at the heart of the tourism industry.

The T-QUAL Tick helps consumers to make more informed choices by being able to readily identify Australia’s quality tourism products and services.

Tourism businesses that carry the T-QUAL Tick have undergone rigorous assessment to ensure they deliver a quality experience. These businesses are members of quality assurance schemes, such as ECO and ROC certification programs, that have met the requirements of T-QUAL Accreditation.

Some of Ecotourism Australia’s certified operators will be featured in the campaign:

Full media release available here.

EA certified operators soar into Qantas Hall of Fame

The Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism was first launched in 2008, and each year since 2009, the national winners have all held Ecotourism Australia certification. To win the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism is an outstanding achievement. The award aims “to encourage sustainable growth and support tourism businesses that protect, enhance and promote our distinctive destinations and environment.”

Congratulations to Qantas Hall of Fame members:
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (2012 National Winner)
Lane Cove River Tourist Park (2011 National Winner)
Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages & Spa Retreat (2010 Joint National Winner)
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway (2010 Joint National Winner)
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway (2009 National Winner)

We’re proud of you!

For more information on the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism,
click here.

To find out more about our winning EA certified operators, click here.

Robert Pennicott Named National Geographic Traveller of the Year

Robert Pennicott from Advanced Ecotourism Certified Pennicott Wilderness Journeys has been named traveller of the year.

Tasmania’s rugged beauty with deep sea caves, towering cliffs, migrating whales, sets the perfect stage for ecotourism and creates the ideal platform for philanthropy, as one fearless fund-raiser sees it.

Robert Pennicott a tour operator is proud of his custom-built yellow boats, which ply the pristine waters of Bruny and Tasman Islands. The 47-year-old former fisherman in 2007 co-founded a coastal conservation fund; in its first year, it saved some 50,000 seabirds from the depredations of feral cats. That initial success turned the founder of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys into a daringly innovative philanthropist.

In 2011, he launched the Pennicott Foundation and led the first-ever circumnavigation of Australia by rubber dinghy to raise money for conservation and polio eradication. The journey took 101 days, raised nearly $300,000 for polio vaccinations, and proved that clever risks can produce great rewards.

“When I die, I want to have made a difference in the world,” says Pennicott, who dedicates at least a quarter (and up to 85 percent, some years) of his annual profits to conservation and humanitarian issues.

To read the full interview with Robert Pennicott and story by National Geographic please follow the link.

For more information of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys please visit their website.