Exceptional Kangaroo Island
Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business | Certified since 1998
EA: Twenty years is a long time. What is something you’ve learnt over the years that you wish you had known 20 years ago?
EKI: In retrospect I am not sure that I would have changed much. We all have long “to-do” lists and can really only do what time, technology and resources allow. Probably along with most of our colleagues in the sector, I came into the business completely under-capitalised so our growth has had to be financed from within and has meant it has been a long and slow journey. What this means is that you have to have a financial discipline to survive and the accreditation process provides a pathway to ensuring that, whatever the speed we are travelling, we are headed in the right direction.
One thing which we have done is stick to our core brand promise whilst committing to continuous improvement in our product, our administration, our communication, and our environmental performance. We have not made change for changes sake - but for better outcomes. This consistency has served us well to date and will continue to do so in future."
EA: What piece of advice would you give to operators entering the ecotourism market today?
EKI: Run! No not really - unless you are expecting to make big bucks and fast. This is a business driven by passion and values and if you don’t have these then look elsewhere. This is more of a lifestyle than a big earner - there are far greater margins in lots of other industries than travel and tourism but there is great satisfaction from making people happy. If you can provide people with lifelong memories and change their view of the world for the better it is a pretty good day at the office.
EA: What importance do you place in your ECO Certification?
EKI: We are a small business working in a regional area on an Island. The ability to network with other like-minded people is harder as a result and the accreditation provides some cut-through to best-practice. We have never seen this as a marketing tool - more a business management and development tool. Any promotion or marketing we get is a bonus - the testing of business decisions and external review of business processes is very important if you are not big enough to have a board of directors, a business coach or other avenue for outside input.