World recog­ni­tion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Gizelle Ghidella Con­tin­ued Page 4

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.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

SWEET VIC­TORY Moss­man-Port Dou­glas play­ers cel­e­brate their win over the Tully Tigers at the CDRL grand fi­nal at Bar­low Park. FULL DE­TAILS PAGE 33

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