Eco Tourism

The Environment and Our Region 

Eco or Nature-Based Tourism has for many decades been an important component of both domestic and international tourism in Australia. It was synonymous with iconic destinations like the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, Uluru and Cradle Mountain. Trading on the environmental beauty of these magical spots, businesses, and even towns emerged. 

In a post-Covid world the tourism trend towards nature-based experiences has grown exponentially. This is reflected in recent research undertaken by major tourism platforms like Book.Com and Trip Advisor where travellers are increasingly searching for options where they can ‘travel for good’, or at least in a way that is more environmentally and socially responsible. This trend has opened enormous opportunities for region like the Camden Haven to tap into this emerging tourism market. 

Whilst the Ecotourism industry has always had its champions of sustainable practice, there is no doubt that there has been a quiet revolution going on, as the true impact of tourism on the environment and local communities is being more closely examined. Who can forget the images of fish and dolphins returning to the waters of Venice during the tourist free Covid years and the pleas of locals to keep it that way? 

So, the conversation continues…how do we make tourism sustainable and how does tourism engage with its local community to enhance a circular economy where the majority of economic benefit stays with the local community?  Here are two local examples. 

Strive 4 Sustainability Certification 

The first, and one that every business can take part is in the Strive 4 Sustainability Certification developed by Ecotourism Australia with support from Tourism Australia and the NSW Government Department, Destination NSW. 

It is the first step for any business looking to start their sustainability journey and one the Camden Haven Chamber is fully encouraging. 

The Laurieton United Services Club is one of the first businesses to complete this certification in our region. 

Over the past few years, LUSC has been committed to various sustainable initiatives to reduce their environmental impact. To date they have implemented multiple measures such as rooftop solar panels, water tanks, and additional features to enhance the energy efficiency of their buildings.  

Meet Peter and Kerry at Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat 

Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat is a luxury accommodation retreat featuring two eco-friendly treehouses tucked away in a tranquil five acre of property on the Camden Haven River and only one km from Laurieton. The Retreat is Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Accredited and its new wedding and events business has been Strive4Sustainability Certified. 

With over 30% of its guests coming from overseas last year, it is an example of how international travellers are seeking out immersive nature-based, but sustainable experiences. 

Who can forget the social media frenzy when Ed Sheeran came to stay and dined at Bollywood! Peter and Kerry would argue that Certification and Accreditation “is not a chore, it’s just good business”. 

You may have heard Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat won Gold in the highly competitive Unique Accommodation Category at the 2023 NSW Tourism awards, a big congratulations to Peter and Kerry who are now off to the National Awards in 2024.  There submission was based in part on how over the last 13 years they have used tourism dollars to enhance the environmental health of their property. 

One way Peter and Kerry do this is through the above ground Wetland Walkway that they have added to the property. 

As well as an amazing amenity for guests the walkway enables a safer and more efficient program of cleaning of the wetland through the regular removal of rubbish, particularly plastics. During floods and king tides the expansive wetlands are a natural back eddy collection point for river rubbish.  It is also home to all three of our local mangrove species.  

The monthly rubbish removal program (that some guests help out with) helps to keep our river clear of plastics. And the facility will also be used in the Camden Haven’s upcoming mangrove monitoring and education program being run by mangroves and wetlands expert Jock McKenzie of Earthcheck. 

Australia’s Federal and State Tourism Authorities are encouraging these programs because they understand that all businesses can play a role in sustainability that enhances Australia’s reputation in the international market space. It is also why Councils like Byron, Coffs Harbour, Barrington Coast and Central Coast have headed down the pathway of an even more advanced program, Regional Eco-Destination Certification.  

What’s Next? 

Local Businesses in the Camden Haven should consider getting on the Strive4Sustainability train with Ecotourism Australia.  

The Strive for Sustainability Certification is not a complicated process to complete yet for just a few hundred dollars, it can be of huge benefit to your business and help boost the sustainability credentials of our region in a competitive market-place. 

Do not be afraid. Certification is about quality improvement, not about punishing your business. It is the journey of improvement and the networking of ideas that matters. And if you need help don’t be afraid to reach out to the LUSC or Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat for guidance and assistance.  

The image of our beautiful area as a sustainable destination is bigger than any individual business. Take some time to apply for certification to support not only your business but our region as a whole.  

If you have questions, contact the team at hello@visitcamdenhaven.com.au 

To find out more about Strive 4 Sustainability Certification and other levels of Ecotourism Accreditation, head over to Eco-Tourism Australia or give Ecotourism Australia a call on 07 32566777