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“Eco Tourism creating a connection to Sydney’s natural treasures”

March 20, 2015 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

According to Damien McClellan from EcoTreasures, Ecotourism in Sydney has been a underrated niche market of the Sydney tourism market for too long.

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Tourism operators and locals are all doing their part to help educate visitors and locals about the environment through guided tours and community volunteer groups.

The launch of the Australia Tourism, National Parks “Sydney Harbour National Landscape” in 2014 identified the natural treasures of Sydney and the benefits nature tourism creates to the local economies while helping educate about local community values. Since 2010 local ecotourism specialist EcoTreasures has based their business mission on having fun in the outdoors whilst educating their clients about the environment and heritage of the areas visited. Founder Damien McClellan has invested heavily in achieving the highest accreditation and best practice standards in the ecotourism industry. EcoTreasures has successfully been awarded a 10-year National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) Eco Pass and Advanced Eco Tourism & Respecting Our Culture certification from EcoTourism Australia.

On Friday 6th March 2015 EcoTreasures was honoured by the opportunity to host Rob Stokes, NSW Environment Minster, and the local Member, along with folks from the Wilderness Society and Nature Conservation Council on a guided snorkel tour of the Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve. The aim of the guided tour was to bring together key stakeholders to build relationships and witness first hand the successful conservation management outcomes of the Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve.

EcoTreasures donated the event to the Wilderness Society as a community service.

Since the “No take zone aquatic reserve” was implemented in 2002, the biodiversity of the reserve has increased. Dave Thomas from dive conservation group Eco Divers reports they been conducting marine surveys of the areas over the past 3yrs. Mr Thomas said they have surveyed up to 300+ species in the reserve. Mr Thomas stresses he “would love to see more places like the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve”. Dave Thomas said “The community has come together through their love of conservation, which is a special thing for everyone involved”.

EcoTreasures owner Mr McClellan said, “We are lucky to see first hand the enjoyment people received when they snorkel the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. Even if it is for the first time or the hundredth time people still leave the
beach smiling. Locals and visitors all benefit from this aquatic playground created through the protection of the area”.

The local area is home to a very passionate community who want to protect this natural asset for the current and future generation. Robynne Millward from the Manly Environment Centre told how proud she is of the Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay recent achievements. The group received the Keeping NSW Beaches Beautiful community and partnership award. Robynne said, “The aim of the group is to educate locals and visitors about the unique biodiversity of the area. The Friends of Cabbage Tree Bay volunteers spend time at the reserve monitoring activities along with recording marine
sighting with ID charts and talking to the public about the benefits of the reserve”.

Mr McClellan said “The Australian coastal culture shapes our lifestyle and the ocean is a true asset which we should all learn about, enjoy and respect. We hope to be involved helping spread the message of conservation through our nature based experiences for many years to come. I have the best job in the world”.

Credentials
EcoTreasures is a local Sydney based nature tours business, which has seen explosive growth since starting in 2010. EcoTreasures was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for the 2nd year running, 2013 & 2014. This special distinction is only awarded to the top 10% of businesses on Trip Advisor globally. This local Sydney Eco Tourism Company also holds advanced ecotourism accreditation, which is the benchmark for high quality ecotourism experiences across Australia.

EcoTreasures is also one of only a handful of tour operators in Sydney, which is a Premium 10 years NPWS Eco Pass Holder. This special authority allows EcoTreasures to conduct tours in NSW National Parks. This also demonstrates the
commitment for a long-term partnership between NPWS and an ecotourism business providing a fun and educational service to the community.

EcoTreasures was recently included in Australia Tourism’s new “Naturally Australia app”. The app was developed in collaboration with Australian Traveller magazine and each of the National Landscapes Steering Committees. The app covers around 200 different nature products and experiences that can be enjoyed across 16 of Australia’s
natural icons. EcoTreasures operates in the newest National Landscape, Sydney Harbour, which stretches right across Sydney. The National Landscapes program was developed to combine tourism and conservation to promote natural areas and locations across Australia.

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