22 April 2008
Australian ecotourism pioneer wins global award
Ecotourism Australia was awarded the prestigious World Travel and Tourism Council “Tourism for Tomorrow” Award for Conservation at the World Tourism Summit in Dubai early this morning Australian time.
Ecotourism Australia ranked above strong contenders from around the globe to take top place in the Conservation Category awarded to a business, organisation or attraction that has made a significant contribution to the conservation and preservation of natural heritage.
After receiving the award in Dubai, Ecotourism Australia’s Chief Executive Stephen Pahl said the award was a wonderful recognition of the pioneering work done in Australia by Ecotourism Australia and its members who are committed to a vision of sustainable tourism and a Green travel industry.
“As the world wakes up to climate change, I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of everyone in the Australian ecotourism industry who has worked so hard over the last 17 years to conserve our natural heritage for the enjoyment of today’s visitors and tomorrow’s generations.
“Ecotourism Australia’s Chairman, Mr Alastair McCracken, said the comprehensive ECO Certification program was a world first when it was introduced in 1995 and the Australian ecotourism industry can be proud of the way it embraced this initiative with its many stringently audited criteria to ensure environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.”
“This program is now an inspiration worldwide as governments and tourism operators seek to measure and manage the environmental impact of human activity,” Mr McCracken said.
Continuing to show the foresight that helped it win the Tourism for Tomorrow Award, Ecotourism Australia is nearing completion of an innovative Climate Change module for its certification program. This will also be available as a stand-alone module for the broader Australian tourism industry.
Mr McCracken said that while most ecotourism operators have been passionate forerunners, inspired by the area where they live and work, it is now time to hand the baton to the mainstream tourism industry and ask that everyone assesses the impact of their operations on the natural environment, the climate and local culture.
“The tourism industry will be a big loser from climate change and mainstream tourism operators must play their part in the solution,” Mr McCracken said.
“The winners will be the future visitors to Australia if we can continue to give them a rich and authentic experience of Australia’s magnificent natural heritage.”
The ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Awards are run by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The 2008 Awards were presented at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Dubai on 21 April.
Ecotourism Australia is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry in Australia. It aims to grow and promote ecotourism and to assist tourism operators to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially and culturally responsible.
It is a non-profit organisation with membership that includes tour operators, ecotourism accommodation, tourism planners, protected area managers, academics and students, regional tourism associations and travellers.
Ecotourism Australia’s certification program is a world first. It provides objective monitoring and auditing of organisations’ ecotourism claims and provides travel agents and tourists with an assurance of best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and quality ecotourism experiences.
Alastair McCracken 0409 065653
PO Box 881, Fortitude Valley. Australia. 4006
World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Awards www.tourismfortomorrow.com