A smiling happy guide is wearing a wide brimmed hat and standing in amongst bushfire-impacted bushland, holds on to a pair of binoculars .
Wolgan Valley Eco Tours owner and head guide Kristie Kearney | Image Tourism Australia

It was wonderful to be recognised recently by Tourism Australia, the Australian Government agency responsible for international tourism marketing, for our commitment to sustainable tourism.

In 2023, owner and head guide Kristie Kearney was interviewed by Tourism Australia and featured in its Sustainability Storyteller Series focusing on tourism businesses who progress any aspect of the four pillars of sustainability including ecological protection, social equity, cultural protection, and economic vitality.

Sustainable tourism includes protecting and restoring our natural environment, helping to conserve Australia's natural wonders and cultures, so they can be enjoyed today and by future generations. It also means fostering a profitable industry that delivers employment opportunities and economic benefits to communities, and in turn helps improve the tourism experience for our travelers and the quality of life for Australians.

We were fortunate to feature in Series 2 alongside John Daw from Australian Wildlife Journeys, Dr Sally Sherwen from Zoos Victoria, and Scott Saddler AM from the National Arboretum Canberra. As many of you would know, our business offers award winning guided walking tours and wildlife encounters, with our local guide adding a deeper dimension to the small group experiences. The highest ecotourism certification through Ecotourism Australia since 2017, and an overarching Sustainability Management Plan that governs every aspect of the operation, ensures minimal impact on the environment and the communities that play host to our tours.

The tours include citizen science activities such as recording data on Bare-nosed Wombats, which are battling sarcoptic mange, a debilitating disease that has no cure. The data is uploaded to the University of  Western Sydney's WOMSAT database, which allows researchers to monitor the disease and allocate resources more effectively.

"Guests absolutely love being involved; they feel like they're part of the solution, rather than just a passenger, all while learning about Australia's amazing wildlife." says Kristie.

To read the full article visit Tourism Australia's Sustainability Storytellers Series Two.

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