Queensland-based international leaders in sustainable destinations and ecotourism, EarthCheck, have received an endorsement from the Queensland Government as certifiers of ecotourism products and operations.
The Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPSR) has endorsed EarthCheck’s Evaluate and Certified programs, which will be available with additional mandatory and optional criteria specific to operations with a Queensland National Park environment. EarthCheck is used globally in more than 70 countries by more than 1,400 tourism operators as evidence of best practice eco and nature based tourism.
Commercial tourism operators running tours, accommodation and other experiences in Queensland’s national parks can now have their sustainability achievements and practices recognised through EarthCheck programs.
EarthCheck founder and CEO Mr Stewart Moore said EarthCheck offered tourism operators transparent and scientific assessment of their environmental and social sustainability endeavours and opportunities comparative to industry best practice.
“Queensland’s national parks are among the best-managed natural environments on the planet, and we are thrilled at the prospect of working closely with Queensland businesses to improve eco- and nature based tourism operations in our home state,” Mr Moore said.
Mr Moore said EarthCheck’s scientific systems are globally recognised for their integrity, transparency and scientific rigour.
“Our operational data helps the tourism industry develop performance and opportunity reports outlining energy consumption, carbon footprinting, social initiatives, and business viability,” he said.
“Tourism operations who display the EarthCheck brand can clearly demonstrate their environmental and social performance, achieve savings through more efficient use of natural resources and provide confidence for both consumers and park managers,” he said.
Mr Moore said EarthCheck was already working closely with a wide number of leading eco-tourism and nature based operators in Australia including the award-winning Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which has been a member of the EarthCheck program for over 12 years.
The EarthCheck program helps operators to measure their operational footprint and compare their performance with best practice standards specific to quality, environment, occupational health and safety, risk management and corporate social reporting.
“As part of our commitment to maintaining endorsement from NPSR, EarthCheck will continuously review and update mandatory and optional criteria for EarthCheck Certification to assist tourism operators in improving their sustainability performance,” Mr Moore said.
EarthCheck Certified Case study: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Cairns
National Park area: Barron Gorge National Park
Years benchmarking environmental footprint through EarthCheck Certified: 12
Major achievements: 80 per cent reduction in water use, 14 per cent reduction in electricity use and 10 per cent reduction in waste sent to landfill.
· The area where the Skyrail Cableway is now located used to be a cane farm so there has been a planting program in place to plant native species around the property. A plant nursery has been put in place to assist in the propagation of native species for the property.
· Students have the opportunity to plant a rainforest tree in an area of Skyrail tenure set aside for conservation – the naturelink corridor.
· The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation has been established with the primary objective of raising and distributing funds to support tropical rainforest research and education projects.
· Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is also supported in part by a percentage of all gift shop sales donated to fund research for Tropical rainforest habitats.
· Rainwater harvesting, use of solar panels and solar lighting.