Sustainable tourism experts

Hayley Clarke

Managing Director
Onya

Fiona Harper

Communications Manager
Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Donna Lawrence

Responsible Travel Manager
World Expeditions

Patrice Fletcher

Dom Courtney

Executive Officer
QORF

Melanie Grevis-James

Anthony James

Executive Director
The Rescope Project

Lina Cronin

Communications and Audit Manager
Ecotourism Australia

Tim Farquhar

Director
Eclipse Travel

We asked them:

Why is traveling sustainably an important consideration?

Hayley Clarke

Travel undertaken in sustainable ways helps avoid some of the negative effects travel has on the environment, including the emission of carbon into the atmosphere through air and car transport, as well as damage to the natural environment and local culture.

Fiona Harper

Our planet is drowning in plastic pollution, reducing waste is no longer an option, it's a necessity. Humans produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.

Donna Lawrence

With the tourism industry growing exponentially each year, and the far-reaching corners of the world becoming more and more accessible each year, sustainable travel has never been so important. When each individual traveller conserves, protects and considers the environment, cultures and the vulnerable, they are fulfilling their role as a citizen of a world. By harnessing the collective good-will and efforts of all travellers will make the world a better place.

Patrice Fletcher

We need to travel responsibly, caring for our environment, culture and heritage not only for today but for the future. Tourism research shows that guests of the future will be looking for/will prefer to stay with operators who show that they care for the environment (As per the 2020 Tourism Plan).

Tourism research shows that guests of the future will be looking for/will prefer to stay with operators who show that they care for the environment.

Dom Courtney

Australia is fortunate to have amazing places and spaces that are available for outdoor recreation, adventure tourism and travel. By travelling sustainably, each of us can do our bit ensure that these amazing spaces continue to be available.

Melanie Grevis-James

Sustainable travel is better for the environment and better for the local community. If we want our children and future generations to enjoy seeing and experiencing our planet like we do now, then we need to ensure we are looking after it and minimising our impact - especially on fragile ecosystems. Sustainable travel makes people more aware of their travel habits - and how they can improve them. Many countries and communities depend on tourism for their income & livelihood, so managing tourism sustainably is better for long-term benefits rather than just short-term financial gains.

Anthony James

Above all, because most of us want to keep travelling to beautiful and fascinating places. And we want our kids and their kids to have the same opportunity. In that sense, none of us wants to travel unsustainably.

This does mean, though, that we need to be smarter and more caring about the impact of our travel than ever before, because it can be one of the most impactful things we do.

Flying, for example, is about the most energy intensive activity we engage in. A return flight to Europe is likely to clock up more ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions than your entire year of life at home, and seriously break your ‘carbon budget’. And while offsetting can be a vehicle for donating to worthy projects, what it doesn't do is erase that impact, or recover that energy.

But this isn't just about lowering our negative impact. It's also about turning that around and asking how we can travel with positive impact. How can we travel in a way that enriches our lives by helping to regenerate society and the rest of the living world?

Lina Cronin

Travel has so much potential to create better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. We need to look after our environment, cultures and communities if we want these to still be around for future generations to enjoy. Plus - it feels good to do things that you know are having a positive impact!

We need to look after our environment, cultures and communities if we want these to still be around for future generations to enjoy.

Tim Farquhar

The health of the environment is of concern to us all and at Eclipse Travel we have a firm commitment to minimising the environmental and social impact of travel both at home and abroad. By choosing authentic travel products that support local communities and behaving in a responsible manner when we travel, we can all work together to maintain and protect the environment. Sustainable travel gives us the best chance of ensuring the landscapes, cultures and wildlife we travel to see are there for future generations to enjoy.

What are some easy steps that we can collectively take as a community to encourage sustainable travel?

Hayley Clarke

The best way to encourage sustainable travel is through education. Spreading knowledge and approaches to sustainable travel will help people make responsible travel choices. As a traveller, develop a curiosity about the many ways you can be a part of the solution and stay on top of the latest developments and technologies. Support companies that have invested in sustainable travel-related products and business models.

Develop a curiosity about the many ways you can be a part of the solution and stay on top of the latest developments and technologies.

Fiona Harper

Reduce the use of plastics when travelling - use refillable water bottles, carry an eco cup for your morning takeaway coffee, say no to plastic bags when shopping and say no to plastic straws.

Use refillable water bottles, carry an eco cup for your morning takeaway coffee, say no to plastic bags when shopping and say no to plastic straws.

Donna Lawrence

As a community we can share knowledge about what it means to be a responsible traveller, educate travellers and stakeholders, and partner and collaborate on projects with the common goal to make the world a better place.

Patrice Fletcher

  • Minimise waste and recycle where possible 
  • Purchase locally 
  • If owning a business, follow the above steps and: 
  • Buy in bulk 
  • Employ local people 
  • Ensure water saving devices are used if and where appropriate 
  • Implement the use of recycled paper 
  • Have a “no print email” policy 
  • Have a responsible marketing program 
  • Implement an Environmental Policy for the business 
  • Work with and support the local community.

Dom Courtney

As a community, we should consider what activities are appropriate to undertake in certain places. We should actively consider the impacts of our travel, and minimise those impacts.

We can adopt Leave No Trace principles and set good examples for everyone else. Many people taking small steps together can make a large difference.

Melanie Grevis-James

1. We need to make more people aware of sustainable travel options and what the benefits are, so more people select sustainable travel and the demand increases; and

2. We need to also encourage more travel suppliers to offer sustainable travel products. The increased consumer demand will force more travel providers to become sustainable. Local, State and Federal Governments can assist this by providing incentives and education for travel providers to become more sustainable. Communities need to work with their local travel industry and government to raise the importance of well-managed tourism development. Education about what sustainable travel is & how to identify sustainable providers is important.

Communities need to work with their local travel industry and government to raise the importance of well-managed tourism development.

Anthony James

Sustainable travel requires a collective approach from the community. Rethinking travel, really as part of rethinking our lives and societies generally, starts with conversations and questions like these ones. Then experimenting! And relishing that process. Then sharing the stories of how wonderful and fulfilling travelling sustainably can be.

Yes, this is about travel that is less energy intensive, less fossil fuel powered, and less wasteful all around. But it's also about rediscovering travel as an adventure, staying on the ground more, getting more physically active in our travel, and connecting more with the world and its people, in all the fascinating places we too often power straight past or over.

Then building on all this, as communities, we can look to change the systems that either encourage sustainable or unsustainable travel, such as incentives that might be in play that encourage more energy intensive travel versus more local, less energy intensive travel (think frequent flyer points, for example). In summary, though, if we are to focus on some easy steps to take as a community:

Have conversations - talk with people about all this, share the dilemma, rather than preach about it, and of course share the possibilities for different – even better – ways of travelling.

Learn more about our limited ‘carbon budget’ and the impacts of travel – in those conversations, by tapping reputable sources, and by looking into the possibilities for travel that make a positive contribution to the communities to which you travel (e.g. see the list below).

Walk the talk – seek to enrich your travel, and inspire others, by trying new ways of travel that impact less negatively, and more positively.

Walk the talk – seek to enrich your travel, and inspire others, by trying new ways of travel that impact less negatively, and more positively.

Lina Cronin

Get behind companies and organisations who are doing great things for the environment and for people - ones which consider people, planet AND profits. There are so many amazing initiatives out there these days and people who are doing their part for our beautiful planet, and they deserve (and need!) our full support to keep doing what they do.

Tim Farquhar

Always consider the impact your trip will have on the destination and look for ways to make it more positive. We endeavour to ensure that a visit from a Eclipse Travel client has a positive effect on the destination and actively encourage our clients to participate in reputable conservation initiatives whilst on their holidays. We also work exclusively with partners that have the support of local communities - so choosing authentic, small group tours means lower impact on both the environment and culture of a destination. We also promote the conservation organisations that we support on eclipsetravel.com.au so our customers can choose to further support their programs.

Always consider the impact your trip will have on the destination and look for ways to make it more positive.

What are some tips to travel more sustainably for a future trip?

Hayley Clarke

Some tips for travelling sustainably include choosing green accommodation. There are a range of hostels and hotels that have all the modern amenities without damaging the environment, and traveling is also an excellent time to get adventurous – consider staying in a yurt, tree house or camping under the stars for sustainable accommodation options with a difference. For air travel, you can purchase carbon offset credits when organising your flight for a relatively small fee. These go towards projects that aim to make up for the environmental damage that carbon emissions cause.

If you are going on any group tours you can seek out a sustainable one.

Public transport is also a cost-effective way to get around, as well as offering tourists an insight into local life. It's also possible to take public transport interstate or between major towns – consider railways or coaches for an epic journey across the country and see scenery you'd otherwise miss if you were driving. Invest in some eco friendly products for travel. This might mean using eco friendly bags for your shopping and finding a sustainably made backpack. While travelling, be extra careful not to disturb the local environment around you by littering or treating it carelessly.

Fiona Harper

Try booking tours at the destination that utilise local guides, eat in restaurants that are locally owned, stay in hotels that have an environmental or eco accreditation. Absorb yourself in nature and take time to appreciate the natural world. Walk instead of using taxis (you'll see way more, and meet more locals when you slow down to walking speed).

Donna Lawrence

Before leaving home do your research and allocate your travel funds to travel companies that employ locally and support local business. This is especially true in countries where local people rely on tourism dollars for their livelihood. Ensure that your travel experience doesn’t perpetuate the suffering of vulnerable children – steer clear of orphanage tourism. When encountering animals on your travels opt for real natural experiences, like spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, and remember the World Animal Protections mantra ‘If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, you know it's cruel.’ 

Remember the World Animal Protections mantra ‘If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, you know it's cruel.

When you are in nature, reduce your negative impact as much as possible, where possible Leave No Trace, or go a step further and take away more than you bought in – try picking up 10 Pieces of litter that doesn’t belong to you.

Patrice Fletcher

  • Buy locally
  • Use energy saving appliances
  • Reduce waste and litter
  • Recycle or use products which are environmentally friendly
  • When filling the car with fuel, consider options which are kinder to the environment.
  • If using walking tracks, stay on the path and remember to take all rubbish.

Dom Courtney

Travel sustainably by adopting the practise, "Take only photographs and leave only footprints." Research the places you intend to visit, so that you understand what makes them special and what you can do to protect these special areas.

Know the possible impacts of your preferred outdoor activity, and reduce those impacts. Some activities, like horse riding, mountain bike riding, four wheel driving and rock climbing, have voluntary codes that provide more information on how to participate in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Don't be afraid to ask a tourist operator questions about the sustainability of their operations - most tourist operators who love the outdoors will be happy to speak to you about the efforts they are making to protect their wonderful workplace.

Don't be afraid to ask a tourist operator questions about the sustainability of their operations - most tourist operators who love the outdoors will be happy to speak to you about the efforts they are making to protect their wonderful workplace.

Melanie Grevis-James

  • Research your travel options and check their websites - do they mention sustainable or responsible tourism? Does the company clearly support the local community? Do they mention how they protect the environment?
  • Select a 'green' hotel, tour or cruise experience
  • Eat local - from a locally-owned business
  • Don't buy plastic bottled water - take your own reusable bottle and use water purifiers if need be
  • Use/take eco-friendly soap and shampoo & personal products
  • Walk or cycle wherever possible to explore the destination; or use public transport
  • Purchase locally-made souvenirs direct from the producer
  • Re-use your towels / linen in hotels - request they don't do daily cleaning/changing of towels in your room 
  • Don't use or accept plastic bags or straws
  • Limit your luggage weight
  • Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle if hiring a car
  • Remember to "take only photographs and leave only footprints"
  • Purchase carbon offsets for your travel, including your flights
  • Take short showers rather than baths 
  • Turn off all lights, TV, and air conditioning when you leave your room
  • Stick to the path - don't impact the environment
  • Respect wildlife - keep your distance, don't disturb them & don't feed them
  • Don't undertake activities that involve incorrect treatment of wildlife eg. tiger/lion petting or riding elephants
  • Respect local customs and traditions - read up and educate yourself about your destination before you arrive
  • Don't buy items made from endangered plants/wildlife
  • Ask for permission before taking someone's photograph. For further ideas and eco travel options please see: www.ourplanettravel.com.au

Anthony James

You can travel more sustainably by creating your ideal ‘staycation’, where instead of going away on a trip abroad, you stay local and enjoy activities in your community. It’s a great concept that’s growing in popularity. Get to know your place, your country, more deeply. Also:

  • Travel more slowly, and stay longer.
  • Travel more on the ground (or water) – fly less.
  • Travel more using natural or human power - cycling, walking, sailing, kayaking etc.
  • Travel more using renewable electricity powered or collective transport.
  • Stay in simpler accommodation, or even with families or community owned enterprises such as those you see increasingly in outback Australia, for example.
  • Connect with the Indigenous peoples of this country, as the oldest living culture on the planet, with thousands of years of insight into how to live - and travel - sustainably on this continent. (Have a look at the first Indigenous travel book Welcome to Country, by Marcia Langton and others, just published.)
  • Volunteer/contribute - either informally or through the increasing numbers of resourced volunteer and professional opportunities out there.
  • Recapture real sustainable adventure so we can all keep travelling to – and of course living in - beautiful and fascinating places, forever.

Lina Cronin

Look for certified sustainable tourism operators and accommodation wherever possible. Don't just believe someone when they say they're 'green' - ask them what they do for the environment and how they contribute to the conservation of nature and cultures. If they can't answer, find someone who can!

Tim Farquhar

Making the effort to support local businesses when buying souvenirs, dining out and shopping can make a big difference as it keeps the profits local. Travelling with a reusable water bottle and being mindful of food packaging is also a great way to reduce plastic. Being aware of local issues i.e. the recent drought in South Africa before you travel means you can adjust your behaviours to suit - reducing water usage for example.

Get a quote and buy online to save 15%^