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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inaugural Australian Ecotravel Award Winners Announced

The inaugural Ecotravel Australa Award winners were announced last night at the first Green Travel, Climate Change and Ecotourism Conference. 300 plus national and international delegates including many of the most important independent and in many cases pioneering tourism operators in this field attended the award presentation – a glittering dinner themed around Baz Luhrman’s AUSTRALIA film and sponsored by Tourism Australia.

The proud winners are

The 2008 William Angliss EcoGuide Award of Excellence –

Phil Taylor – Wayoutback Desert Safaris, Northern Territory
Wayoutback Desert Safaris is a genuine small group operator carrying a maximum of 9 to 14 passengers in late model air conditioned Toyota Land Cruisers and Mitsubishi Canter 4WD's. Wayoutback believe the only authentic way to experience the Red Centre is by getting away from the crowds and getting immersed in the beauty and vastness of the desert - driving dirt tracks, bush camping, cooking over a campfire and sleeping under the starts.
2, 3 and 5 Day 4-Wheel Drive Safaris to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley and West MacDonnell Ranges are offered.

One inspired tour is WAYOUTBACK’S Oak Valley Aboriginal Community tour – an experience the operator says will touch you with its deep cultural, mythological and artistic significance as well as the hunting and foraging ways of the Worlds longest surviving people.

It is the only Advanced Eco-Tourism accredited Tour Company based in Alice Springs operating in the Red Centre – the highest acknowledgement for environmental understanding, operation practices and cultural representation

The 2008 Eco Operator of the Year
Phillip Island Nature Park, Victoria
Phillip Island Nature Park is renowned as home to one of Australia's most popular wildlife attractions, the Penguin Parade. A mere 90 minutes drive from Melbourne, the Nature Park covers 2,750ha of Phillip Island — Victoria’s wildlife haven. The Park is an island adventure featuring wildlife reserves, wetlands and breathtaking coastlines.
The three main tourist attractions managed by Phillip Island Nature Park are the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island and the Koala Conservation Centre. Other destinations managed by the Park include Rhyll Inlet, Woolamai and the Nobbies, where visitors can experience wildlife in its natural environment.

Steve Noakes, Director of Pacific Asia Tourism, Queensland
Pacific Asia Tourism has its origins over 25 years ago as the Overseas Visitors Centre (OVC Pty. Ltd) of Australia, founded by Steve Noakes. Since then Steve & his wife, Suzanne, have been involved in a number of tourism & travel enterprises involving both the private and public sectors. Over the past 15 years, they have worked closely with some of the world’s leading researchers and practitioners in the development and delivery of sustainable tourism outcomes in both developed and less developed economies of the Pacific Asia region. Nowadays, the company is owned by its founders as well as a group of expert researchers, consultants and ‘Future Leaders’ in the field of sustainable tourism.

Alastair McCracken, Chair of Ecotourism Australia, said this industry is filled with passionate individuals who love what they do, and have frequently built their businesses up, not with an eye on the income, but on creating benefit for our community and for the environment. These awards recognise those leaders. “

Ecotourism Australia is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry in Australia. It aims to grow and promote ecotourism and to assist tourism operators to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially and culturally responsible.

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