Eco-tourism the future of tourism

In Attractions, Australian Domestic Tourism, Community, Featured Home Page News, National Headlines, Tourism Routes

Travellers are making more environmentally and socially responsible choices leading to the rise of Eco-Tourism, with Australia in a great position in offering sustainable experiences.

Spicers Retreats, an eco-tourism business taking advantage of the new craze, by leaving a light footprint, investing in the future, and attracting the new wave of eco-conscious customers.

 

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from SMH 28.2.22

Eco-tourism is on the rise as travellers make more environmentally and socially responsible choices. Once we thought only about where we wanted to go; now we wonder where our children or grandchildren will be able to go.

And Australia is in a great position to supply such sustainable experiences. “Our vast and diverse landscapes, significant national parks and World Heritage protected areas, combined with a relatively sparse population, give us a great advantage,” says Penny Rafferty, Head of Sustainability at Tourism Australia.

Rather than seeing the attitude shift as a burden, savvy tourism operators are seizing the opportunity. Among them is Spicers Retreats, a business that leaves a light footprint, invests in the future, and attracts the new wave of eco-conscious customers.

“What we’re most proud of is that sustainability sits at the core of our group, and that the team is engaged and proud when talking about our resource-saving initiatives with guests and one another,” says Claire Baguley, Group Sustainability Product and Design Manager.

Spicers Retreat’s multi-day 80-kilometre Scenic Rim Trail ventures through ecologically-diverse Main Range National Park in southeast Queensland, showcasing Gondwana rainforest, worn-down volcanoes and abundant bird life from black cockatoos to wedge-tailed eagles.

Each night guests stay in unique luxury eco accommodation and indulge in incredible food and wine under the stars, demonstrating that travellers can enjoy and protect the environment without sacrificing comfort.

Enjoy delicious food on Spicers Scenic Rim Trail.
Enjoy delicious food on Spicers Scenic Rim Trail.CREDIT:SPICERS RETREATS

Taking care of business

Eco-tourism isn’t just about feel-good travel, however. It makes business sense, too. Not-for-profit organisation Ecotourism Australia, which has over 500 members, says the sector employs 14,000 people and has a revenue of $1.6 billion.

“We recently measured what I call the halo effect of 19 luxury Australian lodges. Between them they partnered with over 1,600 other local businesses: conservationists, specialist guides, food producers, winemakers, distillers, craftspeople, creators and artisans of all sorts,” says Rafferty.

That’s good news, since without a healthy environment and resilient communities the tourism industry can’t exist. Operating unsustainably now is like sawing off the branch we’re sitting on. Eco-tourism not only protects the environment for our next generations, but their future livelihoods and quality of life as well.

The Scenic Rim Trail is a case in point. It was built on the foundations of sustainable design, construction and operation in order to preserve its wild splendour.

The Scenic Rim Trail is designed to preserve its wild splendour.
The Scenic Rim Trail is designed to preserve its wild splendour.CREDIT:SPICERS RETREATS

Spicers Retreats aims to achieve both zero net waste to landfill and water use reduction by 50% by 2025, and 100% zero net emissions from energy by 2030.

The company is also involved in seed-planting initiatives and a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

“We have a strong focus on becoming as resource-efficient as possible,” says Baguley. “Our ultimate goal is to be Australia’s most sustainable organisation.”

As more consumers look towards eco-certified and culturally responsible businesses, tours and accommodation, such initiatives will only flourish.

It’s a self-supporting system, because consumers see the benefits for themselves as well as the environment through a more memorable experience and a better understanding of how special Australia’s wilderness destinations are.

It’s seldom the cocktails or pillows that travellers remember most, but rather the connections they’ve made with their surrounds and fellow travellers.

That’s why eco-tourism works: it’s a shared and unifying project from which everyone benefits – even generations not yet born.

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