This year in 2022 we are celebrating 20 years of certification with Ecotourism Australia, the peak body for ecotourism and sustainable tourism in Australia.
We have become the first Tasmanian tour operator to be welcomed into their Hall of Fame, representing 20 years of achievements in sustainable tourism.
What is ecotourism? Ecotourism Australia defines it as “ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation”.
Why do we care about ecotourism? Tasmania is a very special place, and for most of us who work at Under Down Under, it is our home, which offers a lifestyle that we love, and an environment found nowhere else on earth. Our business relies upon a healthy natural environment, in particular our national parks and nature reserves. It also relies upon local communities that value, welcome and are appreciative of tourism. Without these elements, our business cannot exist.
So much has changed in tourism in the past twenty years, globally and state-wide. The tourism industry accepts that the impact of this boom is mixed, and usually controversial. Tasmania is no different.
Our island has become a tourism hot spot that has stepped out of the shadow of other ‘mainland’ destinations. Although there is a long way to go, tourism infrastructure is getting better in Tasmania, and it will need to, with visitation on the increase.
Tasmania is working towards the inspiring goal of becoming a Carbon-Neutral-Destination by 2025 and we’re excited to be part of this movement. Recently we joined a pilot carbon accounting program that aimed to provide a footprint of the emissions of different types of tourism businesses across the visitor industry, while identifying opportunities for industry-wide emission reduction.
For our business, becoming eco-certified always seemed like the most responsible thing to do. Twenty years later, there are no regrets. The accreditation program with Ecotourism Australia has been a terrific tool to inform our decision-making, and without a doubt, each time the audit process comes around, we know that the bar has been raised a little higher.
In the Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame, we join several terrific operators. We encourage you to read their stories as well. You can read more about our entry into the Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame here: https://www.ecotourism.org.au/membership/hall-of-fame-2/under-down-under-tours.