Ecotourism Australia Certified Businesses Reach $1.11B P/Year

EA Logo Hi Res

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.

ENDS

Rod Hillman – 0427 279 414

ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA
T: +61 7 3252 1530 | F: +61 7 3257 0331 | E: eco@ecotourism.org.au
Office: 6/67 O’Connell Terrace, Bowen Hills QLD 4006
www.ecotourism.org.au

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.

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.

Key Findings from Australian Tourism Exchange 15

Last week, our Operations Manager, Emily, joined over 2,500 delegates at the Australian Tourism Exchange 2015 in Melbourne. The event proved to be a valuable experience, providing an opportunity to network, build positive relationships, and gain insight into current trends within the tourism industry and various markets. Tourism Australia put on a great event, showcasing some of the best culinary experiences from all across Australia in light of the Restaurant Australia campaign.

It was fantastic to see that Ecotourism Australia’s (EA) members made up 20% of all the Sellers present at the event, a strong indicator of the high standard of our certified operators. We shared a booth with our partners at Conservation Volunteers, and Emily was pleased to touch base with many of our members, put faces to names, and learn more about the success of their businesses. Across a busy schedule of 70 appointments, she also met with representatives from an array of wholesalers, retailers, travel agents and state tourism organisations. By the end of the four-day event, Emily came to several key findings based on the feedback received from Buyers:

  • The greatest interest in ecotourism, nature based tourism, and sustainability certification came from the European (particularly German), Canadian and the US markets.
  • Representatives from various Asian countries noted that interest in ecotourism and “getting off the beaten track” was beginning to grow among younger generations and more seasoned travellers. They also predicted interest would grow further following the introduction of Australia’s multiple entry 10-year visa for Chinese citizens as a result of the Australia-China free trade agreement.
  • Many Buyers showed great interest in EA’s online Green Travel Guide (GTG), the searchable database found on our website featuring all of our certified members, and indicated they would use it to search for new product. The GTG was a very valuable tool and was used during most appointments.
  • A number of Buyers expressed great interest in “hands on” voluntourism experiences that allow guests the opportunity to contribute to some form of conservation effort during their visit.
  • Buyers from online distribution channels and online travel agencies noted that when given a choice between a certified or non-certified experience, travellers were more inclined to choose the certified option, and that this is an increasing trend. These Buyers also noted that many certified operators listed on their sites often do not mention their certification in their listings.

Over the coming weeks, we will be following up on connections made at the event and working to further develop new and strengthen old relationships with the ultimate goal of bringing greater value to our members.

If you have any feedback or questions following our participation in the Australian Tourism Exchange, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

(Pictured: Several of our certified operators with Rod, our CEO)

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.

Geelong to host Wildlife Tourism Conference, September/October 2015

Geelong, Victoria will play host to Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference later this year, with this years conference theme “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”

What: Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference
Theme: “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”
When: 29 September to 2 October 2015
Where: Geelong, Victoria

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Wildlife tourism is an important aspect of tourism, often offering experiences unique to the area visited. It includes viewing birds, whales, butterflies, kangaroos and other wildlife behaving naturally in their own habitats in the wild, well-run captive situations with native and other animals, and other wildlife experiences that can grab the imagination of all tourists or appeal to the specialist. It has the potential to provide employment in regional areas, stimulate local economies by encouraging tourists to spend an extra night (or week ), and support conservation by restoring or protecting habitat, breeding rare species, contributing financially or practically to conservation and research projects, or providing quality public education.

The structure of the conference will largely be presentations in the mornings and roundtable discussions in the afternoons – a structure that has proved successful and popular in previous workshops.

Major themes will include:

International aspects

  • How do other countries asses the value of, promote and manage wildlife tourism? What problems have they faced and what solutions have they found?
  • Which associations perform a similar role to Wildlife Tourism Australia in other countries, and what are their goals and activities?
  • What is new in wildlife tourism in our our nearest neighbours (New Zealand, New Guinea, Southeast Asia, Antarctica), and could there be more cross-promotion of wildlife travel between our countries, and promotion of our general region to the rest of the world?

Contributions of tourism to conservation

  • How are tour operations currently contributing to conservation of wildlife and their habitats (including monetary contributions, habitat restoration, public education, conservation breeding, citizen science etc.)?
  • What is the potential for increased contribution by wildlife tourism and the tourism industry in general to conservation of wildlife and habitats?

The value of wildlife tourism to local economies

  • What do we already know of the contributions of wildlife tourism to local and regional economies?
  • What kinds of wildlife tourism can encourage tourists to visit less-traveled regions, spend an extra night , or make repeat visits?
  • What obstacles are faced by small businesses and NGOs trying to stay afloat while offering high-quality wildlife experiences and interpretation to visitors?

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – NOW OPEN

Who should attend?

  • Wildlife tour operators (including birding tours, whale-watching, reef-diving etc.)
  • Managers and other staff of ecolodges, rural B&Bs, farmstays etc. who offer bird-watching or other wildlife experiences
    general tour operators and guides who include wildlife-watching amongst their activities
  • Zoos, wildlife parks and museums
  • Researchers and students of wildlife tourism, ecotourism, nature tourism, nature interpretation/education and related topics
  • Conservation managers
  • Travel agents and tourism organizations
  • Local and state government bodies
  • Others with an interest in tourism which involves wildlife

To read more about the event, please click here.

(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Geelong, Victoria will play host to Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference later this year, with this years conference theme “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”

What: Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference
Theme: “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”
When: 29 September to 2 October 2015
Where: Geelong, Victoria

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Wildlife tourism is an important aspect of tourism, often offering experiences unique to the area visited. It includes viewing birds, whales, butterflies, kangaroos and other wildlife behaving naturally in their own habitats in the wild, well-run captive situations with native and other animals, and other wildlife experiences that can grab the imagination of all tourists or appeal to the specialist. It has the potential to provide employment in regional areas, stimulate local economies by encouraging tourists to spend an extra night (or week ), and support conservation by restoring or protecting habitat, breeding rare species, contributing financially or practically to conservation and research projects, or providing quality public education.

The structure of the conference will largely be presentations in the mornings and roundtable discussions in the afternoons – a structure that has proved successful and popular in previous workshops.

Major themes will include:

International aspects

  • How do other countries asses the value of, promote and manage wildlife tourism? What problems have they faced and what solutions have they found?
  • Which associations perform a similar role to Wildlife Tourism Australia in other countries, and what are their goals and activities?
  • What is new in wildlife tourism in our our nearest neighbours (New Zealand, New Guinea, Southeast Asia, Antarctica), and could there be more cross-promotion of wildlife travel between our countries, and promotion of our general region to the rest of the world?

Contributions of tourism to conservation

  • How are tour operations currently contributing to conservation of wildlife and their habitats (including monetary contributions, habitat restoration, public education, conservation breeding, citizen science etc.)?
  • What is the potential for increased contribution by wildlife tourism and the tourism industry in general to conservation of wildlife and habitats?

The value of wildlife tourism to local economies

  • What do we already know of the contributions of wildlife tourism to local and regional economies?
  • What kinds of wildlife tourism can encourage tourists to visit less-traveled regions, spend an extra night , or make repeat visits?
  • What obstacles are faced by small businesses and NGOs trying to stay afloat while offering high-quality wildlife experiences and interpretation to visitors?

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – NOW OPEN

Who should attend?

  • Wildlife tour operators (including birding tours, whale-watching, reef-diving etc.)
  • Managers and other staff of ecolodges, rural B&Bs, farmstays etc. who offer bird-watching or other wildlife experiences
    general tour operators and guides who include wildlife-watching amongst their activities
  • Zoos, wildlife parks and museums
  • Researchers and students of wildlife tourism, ecotourism, nature tourism, nature interpretation/education and related topics
  • Conservation managers
  • Travel agents and tourism organizations
  • Local and state government bodies
  • Others with an interest in tourism which involves wildlife

To read more about the event, please click here.

(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Congratulations To Sydney Princess Cruises And Oz Whale Watching

Congratulations to Sydney Princess Cruises Oz Whale Watching on achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification for its tours, including: Oz Whale Watching, Sydney Harbour Discovery, and Sydney Princess Cruises Charters.

Sydney Princess Cruises provide a range of scheduled cruises and private function events on or from the beautiful Sydney Harbour. They also cater to your needs for birthdays, corporate, weddings or any special event.  A variety of tour packages include breakfast or lunch and cater to both adults and young children, and they include an informative, educational element to ensure guests receive the best experience offerable.

Sydney Princess Cruises have implemented several eco initiatives, including monitoring their emissions with an Australian government endorsed emissions calculator, they are active participants in Wild About Whales Sightings Network Whale Migration Monitoring Program, community fundraising for marine conservation projects, as well as contributing to and supporting other ECO Certified operators throughout Australia, such as the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center, where they have sponsored a recovering sea turtle named Jude.

Tours depart from King Street Wharf in Lime Street, Sydney NSW. To find out more about Sydney Princess Cruises,click here. To find out more about Oz Whale Watching, click here.

To find out more about Advanced Ecotourism certification, click here.