Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience Achieves National First: Sustainable Tourism Certification with EcoTourism Australia | Southern Great Barrier Reef

Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience Achieves National First: Sustainable Tourism Certification with EcoTourism Australia

The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience is the first tourism operator in Australia to achieve a global standard sustainability certification for tourism through Ecotourism Australia’s new Sustainable Tourism Certification.

The Sustainable Tourism Certification assures Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience guests that the visitor experience is backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainability and meets international best practice sustainability standards. The Experience minimises negative impacts on the environment and maximises positive impacts for culture, community and the local economy.

The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience took less than six months to demonstrate and document its alignment with the extensive Sustainable Tourism Certification standard which is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The Visitor Experience was independently audited before being awarded certification.

The new Sustainable Tourism Certification enables all tourism operators across Australia to be recognised for their commitment to sustainability at global standard, just as nature-based operators have been able to do for more than two decades under Ecotourism Australia’s legacy ECO Certification program.

“It is incredible to see this iconic industry leader make history in tourism sustainability and demonstrate that every tourism operator, running any visitor experience can put sustainability first in their operations,” said Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Ms Elissa Keenan.

“The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience has proven that it is not only nature tourism experiences who are committed to responsible tourism practices, but all tourism businesses can implement and be recognised for their sustainability across the visitor economy.

“We are delighted to present the Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience with the nation’s very first Sustainable Tourism Certification from Ecotourism Australia.”

Bundaberg Rum Marketing and Experience Manager Duncan Littler said “We are really proud that our efforts to provide an exceptional visitor experience in a way also that meets our environmental, cultural, business management and socio-economic commitments have been recognised today with this Australian-first certification.

“Operating a holistically sustainable tourism business is a real priority for us and we’re proud of the inroads we’ve made, including our new solar panel system to help us reach our target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“However, the job is far from done and we look forward to continuing to work with Ecotourism Australia and others to keep raising the bar for sustainable tourism.”

Launched in late 2022 with the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard pre-certification benchmark tool and Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification, the Sustainable Tourism Certification program for operators is designed to support the wider tourism industry to demonstrate its commitment to, and be recognised for, the four pillars of sustainability: sustainable business management, and environmental, cultural, and socio-economic impact.

The certification process considered how Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience is reducing carbon emissions, supporting biodiversity conservation, contributing to a circular economy, uplifting the local community and delivering sustainability education on their tours.

The wider Bundaberg region achieved ECO Destination Certification in January 2023, led by Bundaberg Regional Council in close collaboration with Bundaberg Tourism, Port Curtis Coral Coast Aboriginal Corporation, local tourism operators and destination stakeholders. Local operators, Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort, Lady Musgrave Experience, Mon Repos Turtle Centre and Kelly’s Beach Resort are all ECO Certified operators.

Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid said, “Attaining Australia’s first Sustainable Tourism certification is a well-deserved recognition of the Visitor Experience’s history of respectful and innovative sustainable business practices, and their contribution to the region’s place as a true ECO Destination with a longstanding commitment to preserving the internationally significant, yet fragile natural environment we call home, as the start of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said “Congratulations to Bundaberg Rum for this monumental feat which will not only have a positive impact on the environment but will also support our local economy by boosting visitor numbers to the region.

The Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience and rum distillery facility was showcased to destination managers from across Australia in March 2023 as part of Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Think Destination Forum held in Bundaberg.

Learn more about Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience and their sustainability efforts on the Green Travel Guide: https://greentravelguide.org/

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