Port Douglas Australia (PRWEB) August 17, 2012
Ecotourism is the now the fastest growing sector of one of the world's largest industries. That’s a pretty big claim, but what exactly is ecotourism, who are all these eco-tourists and what are they looking for?
For eco-tourists, travel is more than staying at a hotel, taking pictures and buying souvenirs. When executed mindfully, eco-travel can inspire cultural awareness, tolerance, and a commitment to protecting the environment.
There are several myths surrounding ecotourism that are increasingly debunked as travellers experience the reality. One of the more common misconceptions is you have to sacrifice luxury, or even comfort to have an ecotourism experience. Today, many lodges and hotels marry luxury with a certified eco experience and the good news is this is the end of the market that is growing at an exponential rate.
While the term ‘eco’ has been overused and even exploited, there are some safeguards that can guide tourists to a reputable provider. In Australia, the Ecotourism Certification Program is Australia's flagship program. First developed in 1996 this certification program was the first of its kind in the world.
Ecotourism certification provides travellers with an assurance that the experience is backed by a commitment to best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and the provision of quality ecotourism experiences including education.
Responsible ecotourism also minimizes the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhances the cultural integrity of local people.
An early adopter of ecotourism, Thala Beach Lodge at Port Douglas Australia, has been awarded the highest rating of Advanced Ecotourism. Owner, Rob Prettejohn is noticing an increasing amount of eco conscious guests staying at Thala Beach Lodge and the resort's early adaptation of eco tourism values is paying off.
Rob Prettejohn explains the eco-philosophy at Thala Beach Lodge in Port Douglas, Australia, “It stemmed from my personal travelling experiences. I have a number of strong connections with places I have visited because kind individuals shared their personal insights and local knowledge. This genuine engagement is how travel experiences are transformed into meaningful connections to a destination far beyond providing accommodation.”
Rob Prettejohn also believes Thala is increasingly attracting guests who are curious about the area and looking for engagement with knowledgeable locals. “One guest in the past reflected to me that ‘perhaps it is because interesting places attract interesting people’. I think there is more than a grain of truth in this comment.”
By using the Internet to research travel destinations today’s tourists can make informed choices, which are more likely to suit their own interests and result in greater satisfaction. This experience works both ways, according to Rob Prettejohn. “Happy guests are the best reward for any hotel operator! Our staff get a genuine buzz out of sharing their local knowledge with guests, which in turn creates a happy work environment resulting in great outcomes for everyone,” he explains.
A selection of high res images are available from: http://www.thalabeach.com.au/media/