Ecotourism – your natural advantage

Ecotourism – your natural advantage
Rod Hillman – Ecotourism Australia
What is the Natural Advantage of Landscapes?
• National Landscapes is the national tourism product development
program in Australia.
• It’s a tool for Australia to deliver on its marketing promise for visitors
to have exciting, unique and high quality experiences.
• It gets regions talking to each other who would not normally do so.
• It’s a unique combination of Conservation and Tourism that
contributes to the creation and longevity of sustainable businesses.
• It works. Regions get more visitors. Quality experiences get reward.
Ecotourism Australia
• Formed following Australia’s first ecotourism conference in 1991.
• Not for profit, non-government membership based and funded
• Close to 500 certified tour operator members.
• 90% of membership is tour operators delivering ecotourism products
• Peak national body for the nature-based & cultural tourism industry.
• Certification programs.
• Conferences and workshops.
• Advocacy on behalf of members.
• Marketing of members – Eco-lodges, ATE & website.
“To inspire environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible
Ecotourism – your natural advantage
• Eco-tourism
Tourism in and about nature,
Conducted in a sustainable manner, and
Provides a contribution to the environment & community
Defined by the Eco-certification criteria
• A sustainable business is a profitable business
Customers want it
• “Today’s consumers expect travel companies to build sustainability into
their product offer. A majority (70%) believe companies should be
committed to preserving the natural environment and 55% want fair
working conditions, while three quarters want a more responsible
holiday and 66% would like to be able to easily identify a greener
• 2012 report by The Travel Foundation and Forum for the Future
Destinations need it
“In the end it’s all about protecting our product. If the product—our
destinations—aren’t protected in environmental and social terms then
people won’t want to visit them, it is as simple as that.”
—John De Vial, head of Financial Protection, ABTA
Where the market is heading – Tourism Megatrends
• CSIRO Project to determine opportunities and challenges for Tourism –
the Tourism Megatrends
• The Orient Express (In 2013 Chinese visitors alone spent more
than $4B in Australia)
• A Natural Advantage
• Great Expectations
• Bolts from the Blue
• Digital Whispers
• On the Move
• The Lucky Country.
Where the market is heading – ‘Catching the Next Wave’
• Deloittes have identified sectors that can be expected to grow
significantly faster than global gross domestic product (GGDP) as a whole
over the next 10 to 20 years.
• Top three are gas, tourism and agribusiness
• Key advantages
• Proximity to Asia
• Beautiful natural assets
• Safety and languages
• Cheaper flights
• Education as a drawcard
• A$ settling at U.S.80 cents in the longer term
Common Themes
Focus on quality not price.
Focus on our Natural Advantage.
Build trust and accountability.
The reality of China.
The reality of the internet.
• This sounds a lot like National Landscapes.
Regeneration and renewal
• Ecotourism is moving into new and exciting areas that can drive demand.
• Volunteerism building on visitor’s need for an emersion experience
that puts value into their ‘ time away’
• Geotourism providing an opportunity to build new markets and
international partnerships
• An industry based on trust and social review – Trip Advisor Green
• Appreciating, accepting and adapting to the scale of the Chinese
• Parks embracing their role in tourism
Signature Nature Product Criteria – What and Why?
Objective of product selection is to demonstrate why Australia offers
the best in world-class nature and cultural experiences.
Products showcase the most unique and compelling nature and cultural
based consumer experiences within a National Landscape.
There is no limit to the quantity of product submissions however
Tourism Australia recommend selecting approximately 10 hero products
per Landscape (as a guide) to showcase the best of the best
experiences for each Landscape.
The criteria is an excellent way of demonstrating that your business is
“Export Ready” for marketing by RTOs, STOs and Tourism Australia
Signature Nature Product Criteria
Product/Experience Name
Located in a National Landscape
Domestically Established and Export Ready
Product and Experience Delivery
Conservation of natural and cultural values
Supporting the National Landscape Values and Unique Identity
Accreditation/ Certification
Insurance and relevant licenses
Indigenous (Member of the Indigenous Tourism Champions Program)
Supporting information
Signature Nature Product Criteria Workshops
• Ecotourism Australia is very strong supporter of the National
Landscapes program and has recently delivered a workshop in South
Australia – Port Augusta.
• Another is contracted in Victoria for this year.
• Format is for tour operators to:
• Understand the Signature Nature Product Criteria
• Combine with an “International Export Ready Workshop”
• Undertake an eco-certification workshop (satisfies criteria 5 & 8)
• Ecotourism Australia is keen to work with National Landscapes to
deliver workshops in your region.
Signature Nature Product Criteria’s future
• “ What success looks like”
• Increase the numbers of new products or experiences that meet
the criteria of the signature product
• A major tangible from the National Landscapes program
• How can this remain as a natural pathway for product to become
export quality/ready and picked up by STOs and TA?
How Ecotourism Australia is adapting to the changing
• Greatly reduced eco-certification application
• New customer focused website driving business direct to members
• Partnerships:
• Marketing – Ecolodges and Aussie Specialist
• International – Eco-certification in Southern Africa
• Emerging markets – working with China Ready & Accredited
• Auditing & Conservation – Conservation Volunteers Australia
• Social media – Trip Advisor
• Building sustainability – Financial, Environmental, Social and Cultural
• Product development tool that defines ecotourism
• Criteria:
• Business Management & Operational Planning
• Responsible Marketing
• Customer Satisfaction
• Environmental Management
• Interpretation & Education
• Contribution to conservation
• Working with local communities
• Cultural Respect and Sensitivity
Our Programs
• ECO Certification–for nature tourism
• Respecting Our Culture-for all involving culture
• Climate Action Certification – any tourism business
• EcoGuide Certification – for individual tour guides
Ecotourism Australia
• Rod Hillman [email protected]
• Global Eco Conference 12th November World Parks Congress Sydney

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