Best in green business Clean sweep at eco-awards
THE Douglas region can officially boast about having some of the best ecotourism practices in Australia after cleaning up at the Gecko awards at the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference on Monday.
Hosted by Ecotourism Australia, the annual awards of excellence recognise the best of the best in ecotourism, which included Low Isles Sailaway, John Rumney from Eye to Eye Marine Encounters and the Daintree Discovery Centre out of only five national award winners.
Low Isles Sailaway was awarded the 2012 Climate Action Tourism award for making their business carbon neutral.
The award we’ve won is in recognition of best business practices for environmental responsibility, our quality of experience, how we look at our carbon footprint and bearing lightly with a big message to educate in a fun holiday,” owner Steve Edmondson said.
“It recognises the important strengths of what we can offer in Australia and the endorsement for us is very good in the bigger picture, it’s not something we just did but recognition of our commitment over a period of time and the product we’re offering.
“We pride ourselves on the fact it’s an authentic experience and how we operate our carbon off-setting, tree farm and the way we operate the sailing experience to reinforce our beliefs.”
Mr Edmondson said having three out of five awards presented to local businesses and individuals was a credit to the region, for the “passion and focus of our industry leaders of the area”.
Industry leader and pioneer of swimming with the whales John Rumney was awarded the 2012 Ecotourism Medal for Individual Excellence and his daughter Jenna said they were thrilled with his honour.
“He has pretty much dedicated his entire life towards a sustainable marine ecotourism and this accolade is a huge honour for him,” she said.
“We’ve got lots of projects on the go at the moment and in the future.”
Daintree Discovery Centre owners Ron and Pam Birkett were there to receive their top honour of receiving the Gecko award for ecotourism, which attracted the largest number of entries.
“Nature-based tourism is growing around the world, environmental issues are becoming more and more prevalent, especially with endangered species like the cassowary and ecotourism and sustainability is very important,” he said.
“Ecotourism is the main stay of FNQ and that’s really what the region is about, whether it’s the beach or rainforest.”