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Cairns Reef operator celebrates 30 years

May 29, 2019 Business News No Comments Email Email

Launching the Great Barrier Reef’s first webcam and becoming carbon neutral are among the highlights for Passions of Paradise as the Cairns-owned company celebrates 30 years of showing people the Great Barrier Reef.

Passions of Paradise Managing Director Alan Wallish and fellow yachtie Steven Carter fulfilled their dream of taking visitors to the Great Barrier Reef by building a catamaran which they launched on May 30, 1989.

Three vessels and 30 years later, the state-of-the-art catamaran Passions III takes 30,000 people on day trips to two outer Reef destinations where they can dive and snorkel before sailing back to Cairns.

Mr Wallish continues to be actively involved in the company which is jointly owned by Chief Executive Officer Scott Garden and Cairns businessman Roger Cumming.

“We have taken about 600,000 people to the Great Barrier Reef in the past 30 years and have made sure we have given them an experience that will help visitors appreciate both the beauty and value of the world’s largest coral reef,” Mr Wallish said.

“I take the time to travel on Passions regularly and have shared some extraordinary experiences with passengers from around the world includingwatching humpback whales breach alongside the boat, and swimming with dolphins and a manta ray.

“We run our business by giving Mother Nature a say in everything we do, valuing our staff who tell the Passions story, and valuing our passengers who can spread the Great Barrier Reef story.

“We have collected around $1.5 million in visitor fees which helps the Great Barrier Reef Management Authority manage the World Heritage environment and have donated significantly to environmental projects.

“This includes more than $33,000 to student research into sharks through the Oceania Chondrichthyan Society, donating a portion of each dive certification to Project AWARE for marine conservation projects worldwide and helping plant more than 1500 trees a year in the Daintree.

“Passions is heavily involved in the Cairns community through clean-up days, donating trips for raffle prizes, and assisting causes such as Mates4Mates which supports current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members.

“We also invest in our staff by promoting internally and offering education opportunities which I am proud to say has resulted in an excellent employee retention record.

“Three of our 31 staff have been with us for 15 years and another two have just taken their 10-year long-service leave.

“We are finding that employees wanting a career in sustainable tourism are seeking employment at Passions of Paradise which helps us deliver an authentic ecotourism experience.

“Our Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Russell Hosp was among the first cohort of Reef Master Guides and his initiatives, which include educating passengers about the Reef’s ecological value, earned Passions of Paradise Ecotourism Australia’s Innovation in Ecotourism Award.”

CEO Scott Garden joined Passions of Paradise 15 years ago after downing his tools as a carpenter.

“Alan has mentored me, given me the encouragement I needed to complete a Masters of Business Administration and is supportive of my work as a reservist with 51st Battalion Alpha Company,” Mr Garden said.

“Alan and Roger were kind enough to offer me a partnership to ensure the business maintained its family-run ethos.

“Passions of Paradise is a community-minded Cairns business that looks after its staff, contributes more than $500,000 to the community annually by choosing local suppliers and works to preserve the World Heritage area that sustains our business.”

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