THE Douglas shire has received global recognition as an eco-friendly tourism hub after the region was ranked among the top 100 most sustainable destinations in the world. Douglas was singled out as the only region in Australia to be named on the exclusive list.
The top 100 spot brings the shire one step closer to becoming the world’s first eco-certified region. The inclusion is based on the region’s dedication to eco-friendly practices.
Douglas Mayor Julia Leu said the accolade highlights tourism operators’ innovative sustainable practices.
“Everyone knows Douglas Shire has a strong environmental charter, but now we have made it official and beamed it across the globe,” she said.
“International visitors want more authentic and sustainable travel experiences; which Douglas shire has now categorically proven under independent and international scrutiny.
“Douglas Shire is the only place where the Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef and we can really celebrate this.”
Thala Beach Nature Reserve has spent the past 20 years in eco-tourism and are an eco-certified tourism experience.
The reserve’s marketing manager Wade Bowen said sustainability and conservation has always been their goal.
“Eco practices have always been our philosophy and we can all do our bit to ensure we make a positive impact.
“Being eco-friendly is everything from our recycling practices to initiatives like removing plastic straws.
“Encouraging guests to leave less of a footprint comes down to education.”
Council is working in partnership with Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree (TPDD) and Eco Tourism Australia to boost eco certifications among local operators.
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said they are working towards being the first eco-certified region in the nation.
“This shows our industry is setting the benchmark high,” she said.
“We live in an area of out- standing natural beauty that is globally significant and our operators are committed to protecting, preserving and ensuring long-term, sustainable tourism experiences that are authentic, memorable and safe.”
Eco-tourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman, who will accept the award on behalf of DSC, said the top 100 spot gives international recognition to the region’s sustainability practices and policies.
“The certification brings credibility and authenticity to the Douglas Shire’s sustainable and eco-tourism credentials through independent assessment and verification against a globally recognised standard,” he said.
Council will be presented with the international achievement at the Global Green Destinations Conference in the Netherlands tonight.
The shire’s credentials were measured against green criteria recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which is a United Nations endorsed organisation.
Other countries featured in the 2017 list include South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay, Colombia and Netherlands.
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