Daintree Discovery Centre ‘eco-leader’
RE: TOURISM Talk in the Gazette, November 11, which read: “Not Green Enough - we used to be world leaders in ecotourism, but recently the Douglas region and Australia in general, has been told it needs to refocus on sustainable tourism.”
We were outraged to see the use of one of our “hero shots” of the Daintree Discovery Centre together with the headline and article.
There is no acknowledgement of this image nor was permission sought/or given to publish the photo for the use of one of our “hero” shots to denigrate the local industry.
A source in the article is quoted as stating “we need to think globally and act locally before the environment and natural icons are ruined by unsustainable practices”.
He then goes on to extol the virtues of eco-accreditation but the unknown author of this damning article fails to mention that the Daintree Discovery Centre was one of the first ecotourism operators in TNQ to achieve advanced eco accreditation and is used as a role model for operators both here and overseas.
The Daintree Discovery Centre is one of the founding members of TNQ Planet Safe program and also one of Ecotourism Australia’s recognised national “Green Leaders”.
Although we are internationally recognised leaders in sustainable ecotourism the unknown author of this article made no attempt to contact us, much less seek our advice on the veracity of content, prior to publication.
The Daintree Discovery Centre is certified at the Advanced Ecotourism level, the highest attainable level and also won the 2009 Skal International Sustainable Ecotourism Award against an outstanding field of entrants from 48 countries worldwide, as well as being honoured with numerous Queensland Tourism and TNQ Tourism awards for ecotourism.
If the article had been used to show the Discovery Centre as an exemplary model for sustainable ecotourism, a leader in showing others the way, it might have gone some way to ameliorating the untold damage done by such disgraceful denigration.
The Discovery Centre has increased community awareness by their innovative carbon reduction initiatives, which have gone beyond the traditional “tree planting” to include support for local community projects, scientific research and the purchase of land under the Daintree buy-back program.
DDC is helping visitors understand climate change impacts, the need for sustainability and how to better manage protected areas.
Timing of this article is extremely poor - the Gazette has a social responsibility to support tourism, especially since it provides the local community, including the Gazette, with more revenue and hence more jobs than any other industry sector. Gazette staff need to check their facts. The Discovery Centre is internationally renowned for its long standing carbon offset bio-sequestration program.
The Discovery Centre doesn’t charge visitors a levy to plant trees - rather it donates part of every entry fee, as well as pays staff to be involved in carbon offset and bio-sequestration. It is also sponsoring a 10-year longitudinal study of carbon flux being carried out in conjunction with James Cook University Rainforest Research Unit to the tune of $60,000.
Among many other things the Discovery Centre also sponsors the Wet Tropics Management Authority Cassowary Youth Awards and presented a local TNQ state school with a $1000 cheque at Port Douglas last Saturday to encourage environmental sustainability.
The Daintree does not need to “refocus” its energies on “sustainable tourism” - it exemplifies sustainable tourism.
The Daintree Discovery Centre has well established strategies for monitoring international developments and is constantly introducing new procedures, products and services which ensure “the green shire” continues to be recognised as an “eco-friendly destination”.
Apart from extensive developments in carbon offset, and achievements in maintaining carbon neutrality, the DDC has also just installed a climate change theatre which is proving very popular.
Leading the way: Daintree Discovery Centre has rejected claims the Douglas region’s tourism operators are not green enough