Best in green busi­ness Clean sweep at eco-awards

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

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.”

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