Environmental Awareness and How We Do Our Bit
Would you consider yourself an eco-conscious traveller and want to ensure you make the right choices. Explore Whitsundays is very conscious of the growing issues around environmental impacts directly resulting from daily human activities. More directly, some of these are a result from the tourism industry. These impacts have a detrimental effect on the Earth as a whole, which filter down to different environments and are identifiable in the Whitsundays Islands Marine Park in which we operate.
We have been awarded the Ecotourism ‘Eco-Certified’ accreditation and take great pride in upholding the values of sustainable tourism. As part of the accreditation we must show that we practice sustainability within the every day running of our high-quality nature-based experiences. Within this certification we have attained a level two status as we provide interpretive talks offering ways to learn about the environment to our guests during our tours. We must also be conscious of our resources and use them wisely to conserve the environment and help local communities where we can.
One organisation in which we have been an integral part of is Reef Ecologic. This is a national organisation with a strong foot holding in the Whitsundays. Here, it has played a very active role, securing funding, and helping to recover our reefs. Especially after the impacts of Cyclone Debbie in March 2017. Consequently, Reef Ecologic saw some big opportunities to improve tourism products and attractions through the development of the reef. Hence, the idea of a coral nursery was sparked. This idea was put into action in late 2018, has been performing extremely well and has seen a massive boost to the growth of new corals in the region. With a survival rate of up to 92% the project is considered a massive success. We aim to continue to support Reef Ecologic much more going into the future. Read more on this here.
Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership
Al Grundy, Director of Explore Whitsundays is heavily involved with and on the board of Tourism Whitsundays. He has had a huge focus on and is a big advocate for environmental awareness programs. For example, the Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership was started. This partnership has the primary focus of developing an annual Mackay – Whitsundays regional waterway health report card, to better inform and improve the regions waterways.
We have had a long-term partnership with CSIRO to aid in their quest to better understand our oceans and climate. Solway Lass, our 117-year-old tall ship, has been equipped with automated sensor and data logging equipment to collect samples of the water and air conditions every 10 minutes in the Whitsunday Marine Park. After, this is sent to the CSIRO servers in Brisbane via satellite. This in turn is helping to monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Read more about the Solway Lass’s role with CSIRO here.
The environmental awareness of our company extends down even into our 50 crew members. All of whom have an eco-friendly focus to the way they run their tours. This includes activities such as; recycling and reusing equipment, having minimal impact on the environment, conducting beach cleans and teaching and offering their knowledge on the subject to guests who are interested. All our crew members are given an induction, and thus are all as environmentally conscious as possible. All our vessels carry reef-safe sunscreen, which is also available to purchase before or after your tour.