Congratulations to Albany Walking Holidays

Nature Tourism CertifiedCongratulations to Albany Walking Holidays for achieving Nature Tourism certification.

Albany Walking Holidays showcase the unique coastal environment of the Great Southern region of Western Australia to visitors by offering self-guided walking tours of various attractions in the Albany area.

The self-guided nature of these walks provide guests with flexibility to take their own pace and focus on the attractions they most wish to experience while having no lock-in dates to plan around. Guests get to witness the breathtaking landscape, connect with the local community and learn about their history and unique cultural mix.

Albany Walking Holidays offer three, five and seven day walking tours, tailored to visitors’ budget, interests and fitness level, taking them on a new adventure each day and return them to a comfortable Bed and Breakfast each evening. Walks explore Albany’s maritime, ANZAC and Whaling heritage, spectacular rugged coast, ancient granites, long white beaches, the meandering Kalgan river and freshwater lake,  panoramic mountain views, beautiful wildflowers and perhaps even some whale spotting. There’s something for everyone!

For more information or to book with Albany Walking Holidays, click here.

To find out more about Ecotourism Australia certification, visit our website.

Ecotourism found to have no long-term effect on whale sharks

Whale shark ecotourism is a rapidly growing industry throughout the world. Although whale shark 3conservationists argue that this type of business is “win-win” – providing an alternative to the harvest of these animals by fishermen, and governments with strong economic incentives to protect the vulnerable species – there are some concerns that tourists swimming with the sharks may have negative effects on these animals.

The first multi-year study to investigate this issue suggests that ecotourism – when well-regulated – does not affect whale sharks. According to the research, which was conducted over five years at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, sharks that frequently encounter tourists are just as likely to return to the reef as sharks that only interact with a few humans.

It is felt that this outcome has in part been due to the guidelines for viewing whale sharks issued by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, which were developed to ensure people “have a safe, enjoyable experience, and to prevent the animals from being harmed or disturbed” (DEC).

Between 1993 and 2011, the number of whale shark tourists at Ningaloo increased rapidly from 1,000 to 17,000 so that today, the industry generates around $6 million each winter season for the region. “Our research shows that the code of conduct used by the Department of Environment and Conservation to protect whale sharks is very effective with no detectable impacts of tourists on their aggregation behaviour at Ningaloo across years,” says lead author Rob Sanzogni, based at the University of Western Australia in Perth and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Whaleshark“The research, which was funded by Apache Energy Ltd and supported by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, suggests that Ningaloo’s ecotourism industry, at least in its current form, is ecologically sustainable into the future”, says Dr Mark Meekan, Principal Research Scientist with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and a co-author of the study. He hopes that this research will provide a blueprint for similar work on the impact of ecotourism on marine megafauna such as manta rays and whales on the Australian coast. Meekan notes “We can’t rest here – we need to keep these long-term studies going so that we can ensure that we will have these iconic and spectacular animals to enjoy on our coasts for the foreseeable future”.

Media Contacts:

Dr Mark Meekan, AIMS Principal Research Scientist, Perth Office. 0429 101 812;  (08) 6369 4039; m.meekan@aims.gov.au

Mr Rob Sanzogni, Oceans Institute, (M470), 35 Stirling Highway Crawley WA 6009; 0413 958 531; (08) 6488 2835; 10503921@student.uwa.edu.au

Wendy Ellery, AIMS Media Officer, (07) 4753 4409; 0418 729 265; w.ellery@aims.gov.au

Western Australian Caravan Park Goes Solar

Big4 Peppermint Park, a Nature Tourism Certified holiday park nestled between Busselton and Dunsborough in Western Australia, has recently installed a state of the art solar power system in their bid to fight climate change.

“In south-west of Western Australia alone, we’re experiencing a rapid decrease in annual rainfall. Last year was the hottest summer in 50 years and droughts are said to increase dramatically in the next decade”, says Craig Robins, owner of the park and eco-enthusiast. “There is no better time than now for businesses to start doing everything they can to look after the environment and reduce the effects of climate change. Installing a solar power system is one way of doing this.”

The solar power system, supplied by a local company and packing in 18.81 kilowatts of power, will save the park 25,550 kW per year – an equivalent of over 4,500 trees saved and cutting more than 194 tons of carbon emissions. Located on the camp kitchen roof, the system will allow the park’s guests to see how much solar energy is being generated via a display screen and will help educate and promote clean and sustainable energy.

“It’s great because guests can see that we are producing clean energy on a daily basis and this  will hopefully encourage them to do their part at home”, says Craig. “We have such a unique eco system down here; we’ve got to work together to make sure it doesn’t disappear”.

For more information on Big4 Peppermint Park please contact:

For more information on Certification, please visit our website.

Certified Operators Walk Away Winners

The Australian state tourism awards held recently have announced Ecotourism Australia’s Certified operators as winners.

A big congratulations goes out to Quenten Agius and Aboriginal Cultural Tours and Sinclair’s Gully who were inducted into the SA Tourism Hall of Fame. Quenten Agius and Aboriginal Cultural Tours won the Indigenous Tourism  category for a third year in a row. Quenten also walked away with a Silver for Heritage and Cultural Tourism.

Sinclair’s Gully was inducted in to the SA Tourism Hall of Fame for receiving the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism for a third year in a row. They also claimed the Ecotourism Award and received a gold medal for the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Boutique Breweries category.

See below for the full list of Ecotourism Australia’s Certified operators who won at the 2012 State Tourism Awards:

The Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Award Winners

RACV 2012 Victorian Tourism Awards

The NSW Tourism Awards

  • Indigenous Tourism – Mutawintji Eco Tours/Tri State Safaris Climate Action Leader & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Major Tour and/or Transport Operators – Moonshadow Cruises Ecotourism Certified
  • Tour and/or Transport Operators – Tri State Safaris Climate Action Leader & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Unique Accommodation – Somewhere UniqueClimate Action Innovator & Nature Tourism Certified 

The Queensland Tourism Awards

  • The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism – Wings Diving Adventures Advanced Ecotourism
  • Major Tour and/or Transport Operators – Quicksilver Group Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Tour and/or Transport Operators – Ocean Rafting Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Adventure Tourism – Ocean Rafting Climate Action Innovator & Advanced Ecotourism
  • Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism – Reef HQ Aquarium ROC, Climate Action Business & Advanced Ecotourism Certified
  • Health and Wellbeing Tourism – Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat Ecotourism Certified

The South Australian Tourism Awards

The Tasmanian Tourism Awards

The WA Tourism Awards

 

Kalbarri Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours newly Advanced Ecotourism certified!

Kalbarri Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours have been newly certified at the Advanced Ecotourism level of Certification.

By being part of the guided Kalbarri Quad Bike Tours you will not only get to see some of the magnificent sand dunes and wildlife at Kalbarri Wagoe Beach, you will also get to ride your own 4 wheel Quad Bike.

You will stop along the way to catch your breath and marvel at the scenery while you enjoy the complimentary refreshments.The tour is designed for the novice as well as for the experienced riders. The Quad Bikes are all 2 seaters, simple to operate (automatic) and comfortable.

On arrival you’ll be given an introduction on how to ride a quad bike including safety instructions. Our guide will be on hand to help you and answer any questions. You’ll soak up the magic of the ride along this pristine part of the coastline. You’ll stop along the way to enjoy our complimentary refreshments and light snack.

For more information on Kalbarri Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours, visit their website

For more information on becoming certified, please visit our website

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours – Advanced Ecotourism Certified

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours have recently achieved ECO Certification at  Advanced Ecotourism level.

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours offer high quality experiences on the Cape to Cape Track, either join their set dates or customise your own trip to suit your groups needs. Locally based, they employ highly qualified guides with a wealth of knowledge and experience in interpreting the Track. Half day, full day, weekend and end-to-end walks, catering to couples, small groups, conferences and corporate groups. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours also offer Cape to Cape Experiences for school groups of all ages. They can assist with logistics and planning, provide track transfers and offer a comprehensive hiking gear hire service.

Join a group for a fantastic, fully guided, all inclusive Cape to Cape Track experience staying in comfortable ensuite accommodation and walking the full length of the Track over seven days with Cape to Cape Explorer Tour’s knowledgable and enthusiastic local guides.

For more information on Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, visit their website.

For more information on ECO Certification Please Visit our website.

ECO Certified Eco Beach hosts Matt Moran

Celebrity chef Matt Moran continues his TQUAL Tick Tour to Western Australia, visiting ECO Certified Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat.

Located just south of Broome, Eco Beach is a unique Eco Resort with stunning ocean views and minimal environmental impact.  Villas at Eco Beach utilise solar power, energy efficient LED lighting together with intelligent energy monitoring and environmentally friendly materials.

Visiting Eco Beach, Matt experienced mud crabbing, turtle patrol, sea kayaking and paddleboarding.  Speaking about his experiences Matt says “Western Australia is a truly extraordinary place and offers a huge range of Australian holiday experiences.”

Follow Matt’s TQUAL tour on t-qual.tumblr.com

For information on Eco Beach visit www.ecobeach.com.au

Search for ECO Certified travel experiences in Western Australia on http://www.ecotourism.org.au/products.asp