MRBTA Membership Manager, Melissa Carmichael, has recently returned from the ECO Think Destination Forum in Bundaberg, where she represented the region by speaking on the Certified Destinations panel. Melissa was able to reflect on the learnings and value received through the Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s ECO Certified Destination Certification process, and what has been learned from supporting our members working towards ECO Certification.
Here are some key thoughts shared by Melissa during the discussion:
- Industry Development: As MRBTA supporting members closely as they undertook certification, we saw that the program works really well as a guidance tool, helping operators to identify opportunities to improve processes in their business. While many of our members are already operating in an environmentally and socially responsible way, we have observed that there are some parts of the process that were more challenging to work through than others. We are looking at ways to embed this in our industry development program so that operators are well placed to undertake certification.
- Storytelling: We know that visitors are increasingly aware of travelling responsibly and our storytelling is crucial to help them understand when and how they are contributing sustainably in their visits to our region. At margaretriver.com, we have a developing content stream around sustainable travel to help visitors in their decision-making. There is so much that needs to be done when it comes to visitor education, but the certification adds an extra level of credibility to our sustainable content and importantly, helps to hold us accountable for the claims we make to visitors.
- Alignment: Undertaking the destination certification program sharpened the focus of organisations in our region around sustainability, and opened up a dialogue about how to look after this place as the very asset that we trade on. As a region, we need to agree on what is important and what sustainability looks like for us, this then needs to be embedded in the broader ecosystem of activity, both individually and collaboratively.
Ecotourism Australia Key Takeaways
Ecotourism Australia has prepared an article of the key takeaways from the event. Click below to view.