Dain­tree Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre ‘eco-leader’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

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

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