Archive for the ‘Australia’ category

Tasmania releases plans for eco-tourism

November 1, 2011

Aiming to compete with Australian eco tourism efforts from Queensland, Tasmania’s State Government has released plans to relaunch the region as a eco-friendly based tourism destination.

Working with Melbourne, Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference convener Tony Charters explained the two states would team up to build tourism to southern Australia.

“Going on current form, that will pair Melbourne as the lead tourism city with Tasmania as the heartland of ecotourism, making southern Australia a formidable destination,” Mr Charters said.

Mr Charters said the benefit of building an eco destination had fallen short with many Governments down under while locations in Asia are “running at 100mph” with the sector.

He explained that while establishing the state as an eco-destination, the long term benefits would more than cover the efforts.

“Ecotourism is not a ‘quick fix’ option for governments to plug the holes after a resource boom, for example,” Mr Charters said.

“It is a very logical and forward thinking choice for Tasmania, but it will take 15 years to bed the industry in.

“Once that is done, ecotourism will provide more jobs than logging, be sustainable and form an important plank of an export oriented economy.”

Mr Charters added that as a whole the country needed to invest more into its natural attractions and utilise them to increase visitor numbers.

According to the convener, the Great Barrier Reef’s figures are sitting around the same as 20 years ago while Kakadu numbers fell compared to visitors in the early 90s.

“National parks for example need ongoing support from government, not just a one-off injection of funds,” he explained.

“Other states can take the lead, with long term vision and investment roughly equivalent to one sports stadium each year, but spread across the state’s protected areas.

The Global Eco conference is being held in Sydney from November 7th to 10th.


Australia puts more into eco-tourism

October 20, 2011
Satelite image of the Great Barrier Reef

Image via Wikipedia

As the strong dollar in Australia drive Aussies overseas, many in that country believe that Australia could benefit from building its ecotourism sector and attract more international visitors.

According to Tourism Conference for Ecotourism Australia organiser Tony Charters, eco-tourism arrivals in Australia have remained steady over the past 20 years and a boost in the sector could fill the void left behind by domestic travel.

“We know Australians have developed a taste for international holidays and that growing international visitor numbers is now critical,” Mr Charter stated.

Not much has changed since the sector launched down under two decades ago, according to Mr Charters, with The Great Barrier Reef still hosting 1.3 visitors per year, Fraser Island and Shark Bay seeing small rises since the 1990’s while Kakadu witnesses a drop in visitor numbers.

He suggests Australia look at utilises one of its key unique qualities in the industry, offering travellers the opportunity to meet Indigenous Australians and learn from them.

“Maybe Australia needs to re-read the book on ecotourism – the book it wrote in the early 1990’s,” Mr Charters added.

He stressed the sector could become Australia’s ‘Swiss watch’ with focus on quality, reliability and reputation.

“Currently the opportunities are too few and far between.”

Mr Charters will be speaking at the upcoming Global Eco Conference to be held in Sydney this year from 7-10 November.

Australia asks tourists to only use eco-certified tour companies

June 2, 2010
The green turtle is common in Watamu Marine Park
Image via Wikipedia

Australia‘s marine park authority is encouraging international travellers to use only eco-certified operators when visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard at ATE 2010 yesterday, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Hilary Skeat said two million tourists visit the iconic site each year.

Of those tourists, around 50 percent experience the GBR with operators that have been independently certified by Ecotourism Australia, she said.

However, the marine park authority is trying to encourage more tourists to do the same.

In a partner stand with Ecotourism Australia at ATE this year, it has handed out flyers and fish-shaped stress balls inked with small reminders to visiting international buyers to book with eco-certified operators.

Skeat said that the marine authority also encouraged their own set of best practices on the reef including the use of moorings by marine park vessel operators wherever possible.

“The industry relies on a healthy Great Barrier Reef” she said.

Ecotourism Australia chief executive Kym Cheatham expressed similar sentiments, saying the “whole industry needs to worry about these things.”

Nature is the most compelling aspect of our country. Our natural environment is the main driver for people to come here,” said Cheatham, “We all have a responsibility.”

Ecotourism Australia released earlier this week at ATE 2010 its Green Travel Guide Australia 2010/2011 which features more than 1000 Australian tourism experiences that offer responsible, ethical and sustainable tourism experiences.

“Environmentally responsible travel has huge potential for growth, as increasing numbers of domestic and international travellers choose ‘green’ holiday experiences.

“Ecotourism destinations now attract about 15% of the global tourist market and that number is climbing fast.”

Some 20 percent of tourism businesses exhibiting at ATE 2010 this year are eco-certified.
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The rise and growth of ecotourism

November 5, 2009
Arriving at the Delta
Image by Storm Crypt via Flickr

Tourism is one of the growth sectors of the global economy. World-wide, it is predicted to more than double from 2000 figures by 2020, when the World Tourism Organization calculates there will be 1.6 billion international travelers. Nature-based tourism refers to those tourism experiences that are directly or indirectly dependent on the natural environment and require a land or water base. The sector includes activities undertaken in mid and back country tourism zones but does not include front country experiences such as downhill skiing, golf or other destination resort activities Ecotourism means ecological tourism, where ecological has both environmental and social connotations Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth and learning new ways to live on the planet. It is typically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

Responsible ecotourism includes programs that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water re-use, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities are an integral part of ecotourism. “Many organizations and operators involved in ecotourism have used different variations and definitions of this term,” said Sarah Leonard, the executive director for Alaska Wilderness and Recreation Tourism Association, a non-profit trade association that represents wilderness-based tourism businesses. “A challenge within the industry is that there is no one recognized definition.” Lacking that, Leonard pointed to two definitions, one given by the International Ecotourism Society: “Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.”

The second definition was formed by an author: “Ecotravel involves activities in the great outdoors-nature tourism adventure travel, birding, camping, skiing, whale watching and archaeological digs-that take place in marine, mountain, island and desert ecosystems.”

The days are dominated by getting out and exploring and interacting with nature. There’s enough comfort at night where (guests) enjoy their vacation, but not enough that we separate them from the natural world.  For many, ecotourism involves two concepts, one focusing on economics, and the other focusing on the environment. “At certain times and certain places, it’s better to grow the economy by protecting certain areas and letting businesses develop around those,” he said. “That’s a way to achieve sustainability to enjoy the many benefits that nature provides year after year and to make a living at the same time. “But also, it’s a way of operating where you have minimal impact on the environment, appropriately sized groups and sharing of information with the group so they go away with a much deeper appreciation for the environment, wildlife and habitat,” he said. “It’s like a form of education.” The word “ecotourism” can emphasize the ecological significance of a destination and thus provide guidance to tourists as to appropriate conduct. The word can also impart the impression that a provider of travel services is “ecologically” committed. Indeed, the Ecotourist Association of Australia defines ecotourism as ‘ecologically sustainable tourism that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation’.

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Australia’s Monarto Zoo to start new Eco-Tourism resort

October 11, 2009
The african plains enclosure with giraffe in t...
Image via Wikipedia

Monarto Zoo, east of Adelaide, is seeking private investors to help fund a new eco-tourism resort.

The zoo plans to offer visitors to the new facilities a wildlife experience similar to those provided by large African game parks.

“This presents a huge and exciting opportunity to do something totally new and authentic,” said Zoos SA chief executive Chris West.

“It will combine eco-tourism and have a direct conservation benefit by featuring African animals in a natural setting and providing space and resources to help save native Australian species from extinction.”

The Monarto Zoo recently acquired another 500 hectares of land so it could offer four-wheel drive safari tours in what is now the largest reserve outside Africa.

With the new development it will also offer overnight accommodation as well as a restaurant service.

South Australian Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith said there was a growing demand for the safari tourism experience.

“We want to make sure that the development and operation is of the highest quality and fills a market niche that has been previously untapped in Australia,” Dr Lomax-Smith said.

Opened in 1983, Monarto features a range of African species including giraffe, rhino, lion, cheetah, hunting dogs, hyena, antelope and zebra.

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List of Ecotourism sites

April 10, 2009
Boardwalk on the Wolf River in the William B. ...
Image via Wikipedia

If you share a love of both the environment and travel, then an ecotourism vacation could be a way to combine the best of both into one great adventure. You’ll get to see some of the most remote and beautiful locations on earth, all while making sure you preserve them for those who follow. Whether you’re new to ecotourism or an old pro, these sites can help you get some basic information, book a trip, and even contribute to making sure that the world’s most spectacular sites stay that way.

Organizations and Associations

There are numerous organizations worldwide that are dedicated to preserving and protecting the environment while promoting tourism. Here are a few you can get some great information from or even use to get involved.

  1. VISIT: VISIT stands for “Voluntary Initiative for Sustainability in Tourism” and this site was created to help tourists and tourist destination countries work together to protect the environment while still making it accessible for everyone.
  2. Tourism Concern: This organization focuses on issues related to tourism and the environment. You can read up on campaigns and get helpful information for your next trip.
  3. The Travel Foundation: This charity website can be a great place to find information on how you can better learn to travel without harming the environment. Even if you can’t take a trip, you can also get involved and give back through the site.
  4. This international tourism club is a great place to meet up with others interested in ecotourism, find environmentally friendly hotels, and even get links to jobs in ecotourism. Join the site or sign up to receive emails with loads of useful ecotourism information.
  5. International Ecotourism Society: This worldwide community can help you to learn more about ecotourism, support programs, find ecotourism experts, and locate exciting destinations and environmentally friendly accommodations for your next vacation.
  6. The Blue Flag Organization: This Foundation for Environmental Education-run site can help you plan your next beach getaway. Blue Flag rates and certifies thousands of beaches in Europe, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean on water quality, environmental management as well as a number of other factors.
  7. The Nature Conservancy: It’s only natural that one of the largest organizations dedicated to preserving nature would have a whole portion of its site dedicated to ecotourism. Learn how to reduce your impact, take trips through the Nature Conservancy, or check out their list of resources to learn more.
  8. The Rainforest Alliance: Rainforest lovers will find numerous resources on this site about preserving the rainforest, rainforest friendly tours, and even a place where you can adopt a little piece of the rainforest for yourself.
  9. South American Explorers: This non-profit organization can help you to book your next trip to South America. Whether you want to try out your Spanish in Lima or travel down the Amazon in Brazil, you’ll find help on this site to do so all while being ecologically responsible.
  10. World Tourism Organization: Find out everything you ever wanted to know about tourism on this site. The sustainable tourism section has articles on the latest developments and important issues in ecotourism.
  11. Green Cross International: According to the mission statement on this site, Green Cross “provides unbiased environmental analysis and expertise, information dissemination, education, objective evaluations for public debate, scientific studies, and social and medical support.” This site can be a great way to learn the real statistics of any place you choose to visit.

Travel Booking

Whether you want to book an exotic rainforest vacation or a camel ride across the Sahara, these sites can help you find a trip that will be both environmentally friendly and fun.

  1. Sustainable Travel International: On this comprehensive site, you’ll find all kinds of ecotourism resources including trip bookings, eco-certification, newsletters and even advice on how to carbon-offset your trip.
  2. At this site, you’ll find loads of great ecologically friendly holiday getaways as well as travel tips, an ecotourism blog, and even an ezine to help keep you informed.
  3. MesoAmerican Ecotourism Alliance: Recognized for their ecotourism trips by National Geographic, the MEA offers numerous exciting vacations that will help inspire your love for the environment and nurture your adventurous spirit.
  4. contains a directory of accredited green hotels and travel companies to help make finding and booking your next ecotour easier than ever. With destinations on every continent, you can find sustainable vacations just about anywhere.
  5. EcoTour: If you want to book an earth-friendly vacation, EcoTour is a great place to start your planning. With hundreds of ecotour providers, you’ll find tours to everywhere in the world from the Congo to Sahara. Additionally, you’ll find travel guides and articles to help you learn more about your destination of choice.
  6. EcoTourism at Conservation International: Whether you’re looking for an African safari or a trip to the Galapagos, you can find information on how to do so responsibly and even find some very special destinations the organization has helped set up in Brazil, Bolivia, Ghana, Venezuela and more.
  7. EarthFoot: This small company can help you create a fun and personalized environmentally conscious vacation. See the bright avian residents of Guatemala on a birding getaway or swim with the dolphins in beautiful Hawaii.
  8. GAP Adventures: Ecotourism doesn’t have to be boring. Turn your trip into an unforgettable adventure with this booking site. You can visit the new seven wonders of the world or get up close and personal with the mountain gorillas of Uganda.
  9. Global Exchange: Global exchange offers what are referred to as “reality tours”. Travel to Cambodia to learn about and how you can help stop child prostitution or get informed on protecting the coastal environment of Costa Rica.
  10. Intrepid Travel: This award winning company specializes in environmentally responsible tourism and can help you arrange your next eco-friendly vacation. With trips to just about every corner of the globe, you’ll undoubtedly find something that interests you and won’t leave you feeling guilty.
  11. Journeys International: You’ll find a wide variety of small group tours on this family-owned site. Whether your interests lie in trekking through the Andes or exploring the wildlife from the icy decks of an Antarctic cruise, this site has something for you.
  12. Blue Ventures: Combine education, research and conservation with the trip of a lifetime. This site’s tour of Madagascar was named one of the top 50 tours of a lifetime by National Geographic Traveler.
  13. Tribes Travel: This fair trade travel company offers expeditions to Africa, South America and Asia that can allow you to watch lions sleeping away the day or enjoy an eco-friendly honeymoon in a posh hotel in Marrakech.
  14. Wildland Adventures: Make your next trip an adventure by booking a safari or trip down the Nile with this small ecotourism company.
  15. Peregrine Adventures: This Australian based company offers small group adventure tours to destinations worldwide including far-flung locales like the Himalayas and Antarctica.
  16. World Expeditions: Get adventurous without hurting the environment with this ecotourism company. Book trips to volcanic landscapes, the lemur filled jungles of Madagascar or follow in the steps of Genghis Khan on the Mongolian Steppes.
  17. Earth Routes: Find your next earth-friendly vacation through this site. You’ll find tours to the Caribbean, Switzerland and even a few small ship cruises as well as travel tips and green travel information.
  18. Orbitz isn’t one of the biggest travel sites without a reason: they offer travel tailored to just about any need, even ecotourism. You’ll find a list of destinations, information about ecotourism, travel tips and more on this part of Orbitz’s site.


Blogs are becoming and ever more popular source of information for Internet users, and these ecotourism blogs can be a great way to learn about everything eco-friendly.

  1. Ecotourism Blog: This blog covers some of the most beautiful destinations in the world in regard to protecting and preserving them as well as reporting on various news stories that apply to ecotourism.
  2. EcoTravelLogue: This blog provides all kinds of information for the potential ecotraveler with posts on destinations, planning a trip, accommodation, things to do, and more.
  3. Development Crossing: Whether you’re looking for information on global warming or issues concerning ecotourism, this environmentally conscious blog addresses it all.
  4. Beautiful Oceans: If your ecotourism dreams lie in the coral reefs or kelp forests of the world’s oceans, then you’ll find plenty to read about here. Learn about reef conservation, eco-diving, and even a little bit about underwater photography.
  5. Low Impact Living: Focusing on all aspects of low impact living, this blog contains some great information on vacations that won’t take a toll on the environment. Learn about organic eating, green spas, hybrid car rentals, environmentally friendly hotels, and more.

Information and Guides

Before you ever leave your home, read up on all kinds of ecotourism tips, facts and other information on these great sites.

  1. EcoHoliday Guide: Find tons of resources for planning your next eco-trip on this site. You’ll find information on environmentally conscious vacation rentals, travel agents, activities, transport, and even places to eat.
  2. World Surface: This online travel magazine was created to promote sustainable tourism and is contributed to by writers and photographers from all over the globe. Visitors to the site will find information on tons of destinations and can create their own travel diaries and photo albums to share with other travelers.
  3. Planeta: Find resources on ecotourism, recommendations on books, and guides on everything from bird watching to local crafts on this site.
  4. GreenTraveller: Get some great tips on how to have a greener and more environmentally friendly holiday at GreenTraveller. You’ll find directories of green hotels, tours, and low impact ways to travel to them.
  5. Eco-Index: Sustainable Tourism: Here you’ll find a list of businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean that have been certified to be environmentally friendly. It can be a great way to protect the beautiful rainforests and beaches of these destinations while making sure they stay that way.
  6. This online magazine features stories from all over the world about the most exciting ecotourist destinations. It also features a directory of tour companies and agents to help you book your next trip.
  7. Transitions Abroad: This site addresses a wide variety of travel issues, but it does contain a valuable section on ecotourism. You’ll find responsible travel programs and article archives, as well as links to important websites and organizations.
  8. NewConsumer: This UK based magazine is dedicated to stories about how you can live a more ethically, vacations included. Check out the travel section for articles on environmentally friendly vacation ideas all over the world.
  9. Big Volcano Ecotourism Resource Center: Find information on the history of ecotourism, codes of conduct, and loads of other ecotourism articles and resources on this site.
  10. Best Ecotourism Vacations: Not sure where you want to head to? Get some ideas of the best and most popular ecotourism destinations in this article from SmarterTravel.


Take ecotourism to the next level with these sites that allow you to get your hands dirty working on various humanitarian and environmental projects all over the world.

  1. GoEco: This organization arranges volunteer trips to South Africa, Kenya, Nepal and much more to help improve the welfare of the local people and the environment.
  2. EcoVolunteer: Just like the name suggests, this site helps set travelers up on various volunteering vacations, and users can choose their trips based on preferred destinations or particular animals they are interested in helping.
  3. Global Vision: Make a difference in some of the world’s locations that are in most desperate need of conservation help. Work at preserving marine environments, do wildlife research or even help teach others about conservation and wildlife.
  4. Voluntourists Without Borders: Use your volunteer power and vacation time to work on issues involving rural poverty, conservation and environmentally friendly tourism. Work to help preserve the Pang Soong Nature Trails or the village of Ban Mae Lai.
  5. People and Places: On this site, you’ll find a diverse assortment of volunteer projects that range from wildlife conservation in India to building Habitat for Humanity houses in Madagascar.
  6. Green Volunteers: With one of the largest collections of conservation volunteering opportunities, this site is be a valuable resource for those who want to provode a little environmental help on their vacation. Just purchase the guide and choose your exciting vacation from hundreds of options.
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Extreme adventure travel

April 10, 2009

Adrenaline Rush
Thrilling Getaways


Ski, surf; hike, bike. Down dog, uphill — okay, already. When sporty isn’t thrilling enough (and when the future feels ominous), it’s time to upgrade to heart racing. These bold adventures should get the adrenaline rushing (even if all you’re doing is reading about them).

Ride Like the Wind
Until recently, HALO was done only by elite military. Now any wannabe GI can leap from a plane at 30,000 feet — twice the altitude of the average skydive — with Tennessee-based HALO Jumper

. Strapped onto a military-trained jumpmaster, you leap into air that’s 30 degrees below zero. Since passing out at such altitudes is almost a certainty, oxygen masks are a must. The parachute opens as low to the ground as possible (HALO stands for high altitude, low opening), and night jumps are offered during full moons in May, September, and October. Howl all you want.Swim with the Fishes
Cute little moray eel? Try a four-meter great white shark. Cage Diver

leads day trips to a little strip of sea south of Capetown known as Shark Alley. Brave beginners are welcome. A certified instructor helps you into the cage, which is submerged underwater for five to fifteen minutes at a time, “depending on the action.” (Cue Jaws soundtrack.)Mignificent, Yo
When competing against actual soldiers in virtual games runs its course, take to the skies for Top Gun action. In the cockpit of a Russian MiG-29

or a MiG-31 Foxhound. Over Moscow and Nizhny. It all sounds too incredible to be true, so start practicing your lines for when you get back to the cubicle: “Is that a Cold War in your pocket, or are you just impressed to see me?”Journey to the Center of the Earth
From glacier to geysers, Iceland is an adventure junkie’s dreamland. Your destination: a lake outside Reykjavik, where a diving instructor will accompany you on a stunning swim between tectonic plates.

Is that Paleolithic coral? Hell, who’s going to say it isn’t?

(The above article was from

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