Posted by on 14 October 2020 | Comments

Tags: ,

Voting is now open for Ecotourism Australia's Board of Directors 2020/21.

The persons detailed below have nominated and are eligible to stand for the 2020 Election of Directors.

Five positions on the Board will be filled by this year's election.

Candidates listed are in alphabetical order by surname. Please read on for their supplied biographies. 


Individual member

Current Director, renominating

Alysia has been an active Director of Ecotourism Australia for the past two years and has served on the Policy and Advocacy and Conference and Awards committees and chaired the Communications and Marketing Sub-committee and Destinations Working Group.

As the Australian tourism industry faces unprecedented challenges, Alysia is keen to continue to work hard with fellow Ecotourism Australia Board Directors and staff to ensure the significance of the sector and the voice of nature-based and ecotourism is heard and recognised.

Alysia is a strong advocate for EA’s benchmark accreditation programs and industry standards and champions the importance of maintaining quality standards, compliance and skills training. Alysia will work to strengthen the products and services that Ecotourism Australia provides to its members as we move further into digital engagement and delivery.

She demonstrates strong leadership attributes in governance, financial accountability, strategic planning and membership value. Her extensive experience in emergency response and recovery has been at the forefront this year in regard to the national fire and COVID19 crises.

Alysia holds a Master in Tourism-Monash, Certificate in Community Engagement (Iapt2) and has a passion for engaging with the tourism sector in a collaborate manner, focused on sustainable destination planning, accessibility and visitor experience development.

She has a personal commitment to the promotion of the health benefits of engaging with nature and is dedicated to experience development that connects visitors with people, place and storytelling in a sustainable manner.

Alysia enjoyed after 19-year career at Parks Victoria, culminating in the senior position of Tourism Manager, where she was the architect of award-winning initiatives and led tour operator reforms to reduce red tape, promote resilience and create enabling environments for operators.

Alysia has worked with regional operators and government organisations on planning, feasibility and product development as well as with VTIC on COVID19 industry programs.

Alysia served on numerous tourism organisations, including being Chair of Yarra Valley Campaign Committee and is currently a Regional Tourism Ambassador with ART.


Business member: Wet Tropics Management Authority

Scott is the current Executive Director for the Wet Tropics Management Authority, a statutory body with the responsibility of managing the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Prior to this role, Scott has worked for the Queensland state Government since 1995 in various roles and agencies including the Department of Primary Industries, Natural Resources and Water, and the Department of Environment and Science.As the Executive Director for just over five years, Scott has successfully and significantly improved partnerships with Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, the tourism industry, community and Government organisations to deliver on-ground management and improvement to the World Heritage Area. Scott has been passionate about partnering with the tourism industry to ‘tell the story’ of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The tourism industry isin the perfect place to take on the stewardship of our natural areas, to protect the assets that attract its visitors and clients. This partnership approach has led to collaborative campaigns in marketing in Tropical North Queensland that focus on the natural assets of the region. As well as this, Scott’s team have partnered with tourism operators to fund research projects and to plan for future de-carbonisation of the industry.The Wet Tropics Management Authority has led a Wet Tropics Tour Guide training program that develops capacity to for tour guides:

  • to build tourism industry knowledge of the World Heritage Area and its values and enhance visitor experiences
  • to create networking, information and skill sharing opportunities for Wet Tropics stakeholders
  • to build awareness of land manager and Aboriginal Traditional Owner protocols.

Scott is passionate about supporting First Nations Peoples to develop unique visitor experience and believes that Ecotourism Australia can play a strong role in this area. Scott has received two Australia Days Awards for leadership in the public service.


Certified operator: Diverse Travel Australia 

Caroline Densley is an owner and Director of Diverse Travel Australia a ROC Accredited inbound tour operator that specialises in wildlife, nature & Aboriginal cultural experiences across Australia. For over 22 years Caroline has been actively involved in the inbound tourism sector and is a passionate advocate for responsible and sustainable tourism across Australia. 

For 16 years Caroline was a committee member on South Australia’s branch committee of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), the peak tourism export industry body that represents the interests of over 1,000 tourism export companies throughout Australia. Over the past two decades she has served on several tourism industry committees, a Nature Based Tourism Taskforce in South Australia and several National committees including one that developed the highly successful national Indigenous Tourism Champions Programme (ITCP), that supported Aboriginal Tourism development across Australia. Caroline was a mentor to several Aboriginal owned and operated business throughout the program’s duration.

Through her mentoring roles Caroline has established ongoing strong relationships with the Aboriginal owned & operated businesses across Australia and she continues to educate the wider inbound tourism industry on the value of including Aboriginal experiences into client itineraries.

As an Australian destination specialist Caroline has an intimate knowledge of remote and regional Australia and understands the strength and value of Ecotourism accredited members to Australia’s story.

Caroline is a founding member of the Koala Clancy Foundation a not for profit incorporated association that supports the wild koalas of the Western Plains of Victoria. The Koala Clancy Foundation is inspiring travellers and local communities to help ensure a future for wild koalas through enhancement and protection of their natural habitat.

Having spoken with some of the current Ecotourism Australia Board Members Caroline feels she has experience and skills that will add value to the Board through her extensive experience in the tourism trade distribution, product development and marketing.

In 2019 Caroline was awarded the Australian Tourism Export Council’s (ATEC) prestigious Captain Trevor Haworth Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the Tourism Export Industry award.


Certified operator: Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat

Current Director, renominating

Peter is a current member of the Ecotourism Board and Chairperson of the Certification Committee.

With his wife Kerry, he is the owner/operator of Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat, a multi-award winning luxury eco retreat and events centre on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. The Treehouse Retreat is currently Advance Ecotourism and Climate Action Business certified.

Peter and Kerry have been engaged with the Tourism industry since they started the exciting journey of rehabilitating their 13 acre rural property in 2004. Peter is also a Committee Member/Risk Manager for the Slice of Haven Food and Wine Festival (13 years) and Kerry is a Board Member of the Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association. Together, they have developed a strong and lasting passion for the Tourism industry since moving to their new home in Dunbogan NSW.

Prior to his engagement with tourism, Peter was the CEO of several private and public hospitals, large and small. It is in this capacity he honed his skills in the areas of: corporate governance; financial management; risk management; standards compliance, and in particular, performance management and benchmarking. He has been for 27 years, and still remains, an active Assessor for the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, the certification body for hospitals and healthcare systems. In this capacity he brings to EA, the experience of other certification systems nationally and internationally.

As a Board Member of EA he has been privileged to work through the 2019-2020 challenges of Bushfire and COVID. In his role of Certification Committee Chairperson, he has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the introduction of on-line certification processes and the development of future outcome based performance indicators for tourism operators. He would very much like to continue assisting EA and its members in these important areas of development.


Certified operator: Mt Barney Lodge

Current Director, renominating

Innes Larkin has been active in the outdoors from an early age, hiking and climbing in Australasia, Europe, UK, and Nepal including expeditions to Mera Peak and Ama Dablam. In 2016 Innes was jointly awarded the Australian Search and Rescue award.

A teacher with a Masters in Outdoor Education, Innes has taught in London, and QLD. In 2006 Innes and Tracey Larkin purchased Mt Barney Lodge which holds Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation with Ecotourism Australia.

From 2010 to 2012 Innes spearheaded a campaign to “Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic”. This was in response to Coal and Coal Seam Gas mining moving into the Ecotourism hotspot. A legacy of this campaign is that the Scenic Rim is now Coal and Gas Free.

Twice a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Gondwanan Rainforests of Australia World Heritage property, as well as Deputy Chair of Ecotourism Australia and additionally the chair of the Executive and Finance and Conference committees. Innes is also Chair of the Global Eco Conference committee helping to facilitate the 2019 and 2020 Global Eco conferences.

Innes is passionate about sustainable tourism and the lasting legacies it can bring to a region.


Business member: TRC Tourism

Janet Mackay is the owner and Director of TRC Tourism (TRC). TRC is a leading global tourism consultancy based in Australia and New Zealand. For over 20 years the company has engaged with businesses, governments and communities around the world to enhance peoples’ lives and the places they live through sustainable tourism, recreation and conservation planning, development and management.

Janet is an accomplished tourism professional with more than 25 years’ practical experience including substantial knowledge in all aspects of sustainable tourism destination planning and product development. She is well-known as a destination and visitor experience planning leader, as well as related infrastructure and product development. This has seen Janet working with multiple governments, agencies, stakeholders and the tourism sector to develop plans and products for a wide range of attractions, infrastructure, services and interpretation. She has worked with all level of governments to determine appropriate governance models to ensure maximum effectiveness in the delivery of sustainable tourism outcomes.

She also provides mentoring and training for tourism operators and managers. Janet’s passion lies in ecotourism particularly working with indigenous communities to create and deliver new experiences that create sustainable economic, social and cultural outcomes. Janet’s leadership in sustainable tourism is demonstrated by her award-winning planning approach toward destination planning and management. TRC offsets all its carbon emissions through the Path Zero program and is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Under Janet’s direction, the Sustainable Development Goals are embedded into TRC’s planning process for every project.

With extensive networks at all levels of the public and private sector in all jurisdictions across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, and governance experience as the Director of her own company Janet is well placed to be an effective communicator and champion as a Board member of Ecotourism Australia.


Individual member

I’m incredibly fortunate to lead a global philanthropic conservation program that’s centred on empowering people to be the stewards of their lands for environmental, cultural and economic benefits. The BHP Foundation is a charity solely funded by BHP. As the Program Director of its Environmental Resilience global program since start-up four years ago, we’re now supporting many projects that are tackling the wicked problem of delivering enduring conservation outcomes in multi-function landscapes. Local enterprise and tourism are critical and my aim is to leverage private, public and philanthropic funds to support Indigenous peoples and local communities.

My work with partners around the world has shown that supporting ingenuity and enterprise can have lasting change for families and the environment – like Norbil’s idea to attract hummingbirds to his property in the Peruvian Amazon for tourists to photograph, who can now afford to convert his coffee growing to organic practices; or the generations-old biodynamic winery in Chile committing part of its property to conservation, to preserve habitat for bees that pollinate the vines. Sustainable tourism is an essential part of the solution to biodiversity loss, climate change impacts and loss of culture and connection to nature.

Projects I work on are supporting individuals and communities to be transformational. For example, the Chief Resilience Officer in Ningaloo brought the community together to map a future that will be resilient to the shocks and stressors of climate change; and the Indigenous ranger teams of the 10 deserts are building a website to deliver a coordinated tourism experience.

My work and networks are global, however it’s Australia that’s my home, and source of energy and knowledge. I worked in the hospitality industry through school and Uni (while completing a Zoology degree) spending a gap-year driving around Australia and using every opportunity since then to explore the beaches, bush, arid lands and forests of Australia. I worked at the WA Environmental Protection Authority for 16 years, followed by five yearsleading BHP Iron Ore’s environmental strategy and now four years with the BHP Foundation.

The perspectives from my work and background may complement the excellent work of Ecotourism Australia and the important role it’s going to play in the next few years that’ll be crucial to Australia’s economy and biodiversity, through its leading practices and credibility.



Financial members can vote online via Election Buddy for up to seven (7) days prior to the election – an email has been sent to your primary email contact.

Voting is now open and will close at 12:45 AEST during the AGM. The AGM will commence at 12:30 AEST on Wednesday, 21 October 2020 – broadcast online via Zoom from the Ecotourism Australia office, 1a 88 Buckland Road, Nundah, Queensland 4012. 

comments powered by Disqus