We’re excited to announce that as part of Ecotourism Australia’s partnership with Conservation Volunteers (CV), on-site audits of ECO certified operators will be conducted across New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania between the months of March and June. This follows successful audits conducted on Victorian operators under the partnership over the December/January period.
On-site audits every three years are a core requirement of the ECO Certification Program, necessary to ensure compliance to our standards. The audits also provide the perfect opportunity for operators to speak with an environmental specialist, seek advice and feedback on current or planned initiatives, and showcase their hard work. Through EA’s partnership with CV, we hope to eliminate any negativity attached to auditing. The audit process is designed to be a supportive, constructive and communicative process helping operators to improve, not to merely seek out flaws or inadequacies.
Operators subject to audit are given 21 days’ notice, and on the day the audit process usually takes around three hours. As well as inspecting accommodations, facilities and tour vehicles or vessels, auditors review the documents that an operator in required to submit for their application to ensure they have been kept up-to-date. These plans include; business, marketing and operational management plans, environmental management and interpretation plans. Audits are also an opportunity for operators to upgrade to a higher level of certification if they have introduced new initiatives since they achieved certification.
We are looking forward to hearing more about our certified businesses and their operations, learning about new initiatives that may have been introduced, and further supporting our members commitment to strong environmental and ecotourism principals.
To find out more about Ecotourism Australia and Conservation Volunteer’s partnership and audit program, please contact the EA office.
Like most States and Territories in Australia, Tasmania is seeking Expressions of Interest from tourism operators to develop tourism enterprises within their National Parks.
Ecotourism Australia supports sustainable and responsible tourism development within National Parks but only if it:
- Follows appropriate guidelines and safeguards to ensure there is an acceptable balance between conservation and use, and it
- Provides the tourism enterprise with a clear opportunity to succeed.
At a minimum it should follow strict guidelines, like the Tourism in Australia’s Protected Areas Forum’s (TAPAF – a group of representatives from State and Commonwealth park and tourism agencies) “Best Practice Guidelines for Eco-Opportunities in Protected and Natural Areas”. These guidelines were developed by the Parks and Tourism Agencies themselves and provide an excellent basis for a consistent approach across States. They are designed to ensure conservation and tourism outcomes are delivered through sustainable tourism operations that continue to enhance Australia as such a desirable and unique tourism destination.
Although the guidelines are an excellent starting point they should be expanded to address important issues:
- How should existing ‘pioneer’ operators be treated (operating outside the Park) – How to recognise those who initially created the attraction without limiting competition and new ideas?
- What happens if the enterprise fails? Who is responsible for the clean-up or dismantling of the impact and infrastructure of the enterprise?
- It doesn’t require Park based tourism operations to maintain a framework to measure success in meeting environmental, social and economic goals (triple bottom line) – such as eco certification.
The previous policy of tourism development adjacent to Parks has proven to be a serious issue to Park Managers where the Park is expected to cater for the ever increasing needs of the tourists as a development outside the Park grows. The Park itself has to develop infrastructure, services and the associated maintenance without any tangible financial benefit. Bringing the tourism industry, conservation, Indigenous groups and government together through mutual benefit should provide better conservation and cultural outcomes whilst improving the visitor experience.
Read more about the plans to open Tasmania’s National Parks to development, here.
Ecotourism Australia would like to send out a big congratulations to Under Down Under Tours, the first tourism operator in Tasmania to achieve our Respecting Our Culture (ROC) certification.
Under Down Under has held Advanced Ecotourism Certification for fifteen of their tour products for a number of years and is also an Ecotourism Australia Green Travel Leader. They are pioneers for budget adventure tourism in Tasmania and pride themselves in offering relaxed and unforgettable experiences with minimal impact on the fragile and unique Tasmanian environment.
Under Down Under offer a wide range of adventure tour experiences, with a focus on respecting natural environments, for independent travellers, backpackers and small groups. Ranging from day trips to 9-day expeditions, tours cover all the Tassie highlights and offer optional extras for those seeking a more challenging and adventurous experience.
To find out more about Down Under Tours or to book your own Tasmanian tour, click here.
To find out more about ROC certification, click here.
Congratulations to Freycinet Experience for achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification!
Freycinet Experience offers a four-day award winning guided walk, covering the entire length of the Freycinet Peninsula of Tasmania’s East Coast. Guests, limited to groups of no more than ten, visit the iconic Wineglass Bay, stunning coastal rain-forests and the dramatic Hazard Mountains. Led by engaging and knowledgeable guides, guests discover diverse marine and wildlife, the beauty of the local flora, and breathtaking landscapes. “Walk beaches of powder white sand, hike pink granite mountains and discover forests of towering white gums where you and your walking companions feel like the only souls on earth.”
By night, guests return to relaxation at the Friendly Beaches Lodge, nestled in the Freycinet National Park and boasting ultimate rejuvenation after a days walk with hot showers, deep baths, comfortable beds, a library open for your perusal, and local cuisine prepared by the friendly hosts. The uncomplicated luxury of the lodge paired with invigorating walks by day offers a perfect rejuvenating experience.
For more information on Freycinet Experience Walks, click here.
For more information on Advanced Ecotourism certification, click here.
Tasmania is the most tourism-dependent state in Australia, a national study of tourism employment shows.
The industry represents more than 15,000 direct jobs in Tasmania, .
The National Tourism Business Count and Employment Atlas, which has just been released, breaks down jobs by electorate and shows the importance of tourism in each area.
“Tourism accounts for between 6.6 and 7.9 per cent of total direct employment in the five Tasmanian electorates, making Tasmania the most tourism-dependent state in Australia,” Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) Chief Executive Mr Zimmerman said.
“These figures demonstrate the importance of the visitor economy to every region of Tasmania and means that tourism must be high on the agenda of all political parties as we head towards the September federal election.”
This definitely confirms that conservation and the protection of Tasmanian destinations can only be beneficial to local communities and the economy.
To find Ecotourism Australia certified experiences visit our website.
If you are interested in reading the report, click here.
Regional tourism is set to benefit from a significant marketing campaign with Jetstar to mark the 30th anniversary of the initial inscription of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The campaign was announced by Jetstar CEO Australia, New Zealand David Hall and the Minister for Tourism Scott Bacon. As part of the campaign, Jetstar will provide potential visitors with Wilderness World Heritage Area itineraries to help them plan their visit to the State.
Through direct marketing, social, print and digital media, visitors will be linked through to the Jetstar Tasmania microsite that features World Heritage Wilderness itineraries to assist visitors in their planning.
“With our World Heritage Wilderness spanning about a fifth of the island, from the south west tip, across the west and up to Cradle Mountain, this campaign will support regional tourism activity and showcase the very best aspects of our natural landscape,” Mr Bacon said.
Added to the World Heritage List in 1982, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers over 1.4 million hectares (or about 3.46 million acres) and represents about 1/5 of the area of the island state of Tasmania. It protects vast tracts of high quality wilderness, which harbours a wealth of outstanding natural and cultural heritage.
Well done to Tarkine Wilderness Lodge for achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification.
Located on the North West Coast of Tasmania, this unique Lodge is nestled at the edge of the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere, The Tarkine. The Lodge’s experienced guides will take you on a breathtaking and informative journey through the ancient 60 million year old forest.
Rain water (some of the cleanest in the world!) is collected from the roof and supplies all internal taps, showers and vanities. Dam water is used for the surrounding garden and all toilets in the Lodge. The Lodge utilizes Solar Power as its main source of electricity, it is renewable and silent and also reduces green house emissions.A gas powered generator is used as back up.
Click here for more information about Advanced Ecotourism certification.
For more information on Tarkine Wilderness Lodge, visit their website.