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Downunder on Top for Responsible Travel

October 24, 2014 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

Aussie tour operator Echidna Walkabout is showing the way for sustainable travel in 2014.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, Australia’s leading wildlife tour operator, is one of just 24 worldwide organisations on the short-list for the prestigious World Responsible Travel Awards*.

“To be short-listed amongst such a high quality field is evidence of Australia’s strengths in ethical tourism,” said Janine Duffy, co-owner. “We hope the 426045_num1012470_600x600judges are looking for trade-savvy ecotourism businesses using innovative approaches to biodiversity conservation and social justice.”

The company’s mainstream appeal, and the team’s professional business approach are the keystones of their success. “We are out-competing the big boys on their playing field, and we are doing it sustainably” Duffy said. “We are proof that it is possible for an ecotour business to be successful and profitable whilst protecting wildlife and the environment.”

Echidna Walkabout operates the popular Koalas & Kangaroos IN THE WILD one day tour, three day Great Ocean Road tour, and three and four day trips to far East Gippsland and Mungo/Mildura Outback. Every tour has a conservation ethic: for example, the “Make a Home for Clancy Koala” project encourages guests to remove weeds to create habitat for koalas; on East Gippsland tours participants remove ghost nets from remote ocean beaches to prevent marine life entanglement. All tours fund the Wild Koala Research Project.

Saving koalas from the extinction predicted by experts is a focus for the ecotourism business. Echidna Walkabout’s long-running Wild Koala Research Project led to the discovery of a revolutionary, non-intrusive method of identifying wild koalas (nose pattern identication) which has been scientifically recognised. The team plan to promote use of the method to build closer connections between tourists, locals and wild koalas, through the creation of an Australia-wide mobile phone app. Using the app, tourists and locals will be encouraged to submit koala nose photos, which will be catalogued by local koala experts, providing information on koala movements and enhancing community empathy for the threatened marsupial.

*The 2014 World Responsible Travel Awards will be presented on November 5th – World Responsible Tourism Day – at World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

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