EVERYDAY ECOTOURISM HEROES EDITION 4: ZAK KELLY
When your tourism business provides such great visitor experiences that it inspires your guests to write poetry*, you know you must be onto a good thing.
It’s something that comes naturally to Whitsunday Segway Tours’ owner/operator Zak Kelly – after all, his business is built on a combined 40 years of tourism experience.
However, whilst experience and knowledge are certainly key factors in running a successful business, continuous improvement and innovation are also beneficial. And this is exactly what Zak’s wife Vhari, describes her husband as being good at:
“In three words, Zak is an innovator, passionate and dedicated,” she says.
She also explains that since starting the business five years ago, Zak has always strived to make it more environmentally friendly and suitable for eco-friendly and environmentally conscious clientele.
“He’s always implementing environmentally friendly practices, she says.
“Each year the business is entered into the local tourism awards in the Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Category [and] this encourages Zak to innovate and continually introduce new eco-friendly practices into the business.
“Some of these practices include using reusable containers in the morning tea packs on tour, using a water repellent layer on the Segway to reduce cleaning and using an air compressor to remove surface dust, rather than washing with water regularly.”
Zak’s keen interest in running his business in a sustainable way is also communicated to his guests. When explaining the functionality of the Segway, Zak always promotes the fact that the vehicles create zero emissions and ensures that guests do not leave any rubbish in the rainforest. He also ensures that his guests walk away from the experience not only with new skills but more knowledge on the local flora and fauna:
“Being born and bred in Airlie, Zak was abundant in local knowledge and had a true appreciation for the area,” said guest Anita J on TripAdvisor. Other guests agree, with reviews frequently commenting ton Zak’s knowledge of the local flora, fauna and history.
Zak’s enthusiasm also flows over to his team, with whom he has regular meetings to discuss plans for making his business even more sustainable.
Whitsundays Segway Tours achieved Ecotourism Certification in August 2018 and already have plans to upgrade this and include more eco-friendly practices into their business, such as monitoring and offsetting their carbon emissions and charging their Segways with renewable energy.
Thank you to Whitsunday Segway Tours, particularly nominator, Vhari Kelly and nominee, Zak Kelly, for being part of our Everyday Ecotourism Heroes article series!
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!
*We weren't kidding about the poetry: