The term ecotourism sits as a definitive guideline for the conscious traveller.
We are often told it’s the little things we do that count. Shop local, buy consciously and travel lightly. In a culture where people are looking for positive choices, it’s no wonder that ecotourism operators are becoming the norm and almost expected, especially in a country like Australia.
Tourism operators have a duty of care to protect the environment they operate within. Since Whitsunday Rent-A-Yacht specialises in skipper yourself yacht charters within a world-class location, we do what we can to protect our local environment and adhere to ecotourism guidelines.
You can learn about how we are an Eco-Certified and a sustainable tourism operator, but first, let’s look more broadly at what ecotourism is and what to look for if you are planning to travel consciously in Australia.
According to Ecotourism Australia, the definition of ecotourism is:"Ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation." Why is ecotourism important? A sustainable alternative to conventional tourism, ecotourism refers to minimising the potential negative impacts of tourism. It focuses on protecting the environment or culture in which a tourism activity takes place and promotes environmental education and conservation.
Generally speaking, ecotourism is incredibly important for supporting communities and the environment in which they live. Economic benefits are gained through things like employment, but not at the expense of the local environment and its long term health.
While the benefits of ecotourism are more obviously local, it has a rippling effect. Visitors are allowed to enjoy the local wildlife and untouched environments and it’s through this inspiring experience that positive actions can be widespread.
When an area of natural beauty is enjoyed through a supplier who provides education, travellers increase their awareness around conserving resources, avoiding waste, buying local and protecting ecosystems. And, when they get home or jump on Insta, they spread the message to their families and friends and so the positive effect goes on.
Australia’s Eco Certification Program was developed to identify genuine ecotourism and nature tourism operators in Australia. A word first, there are three levels of accreditation available: Nature Tourism, Ecotourism and Advanced Ecotourism.
Operators are assessed on their economic, environmental and social sustainability. Ecotourism principles such as business ethics, responsible marketing, contribution to conservation and working with communities are also evaluated.
The program has been so successful that it is now being exported to the rest of the world as the International Ecotourism Standard.
If you’re travelling Australia and want to use genuine eco-friendly tourism operators, look for this logo:
You can also check the Green Travel Guide on the Ecotourism Australia website to ensure that the operator you are considering is accredited.
We are committed to sustainable tourism, and to ensuring that the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef remain healthy environments now and well into the future. Whitsundays Rent-a-Yacht was accredited by Ecotourism Australia's Eco Certification Program in 2009 and after ten years, we recently became certified Green Travel Leaders. This ecotourism certification assures consumers that we are committed to the environment and Australian best practices.
Sailing holidays attract travellers who enjoy being in nature. When you charter with us, you have the freedom to explore the unspoiled Whitsunday Islands and partake in many nature-based activities such as kayaking, sailing, hiking, stargazing, snorkelling and whale watching. A yacht charter really is the perfect holiday for an ecotourist!
We're also proactive with environmental action by:
At Whitsunday Rent-A-Yacht, we sincerely believe that as tourism operators, it’s our job to educate, minimise our impact on the natural environment and to do what we can to make socially conscious practices a part of our business's culture.
We hope that by maintaining a high ecotourism standard, we are doing our bit to preserve the Whitsundays so that visitors can enjoy their natural beauty in years to come. The positive impact an ecotourism experience can offer a traveller is immediate and personal, but its effects can be far-reaching.
If you would like to sail the Whitsundays with an eco-certified provider