Coral Expeditions

Sep 29, 2023 | Case Study

Coral Expeditions
Eco-cruise operator

The Great Barrier Reef has long been the birthplace of pioneering ecotourism businesses now sharing their sustainability mission across Australia, and Coral Expeditions is no exception.

Beginning with the Coral Princess, a converted ‘Fairmile’ submarine chaser commissioned in 1983, the company has since launched small ship expedition cruises across from Great Barrier Reef to the Kimberley, all the way to the South Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea.

This year not only marks an incredible 40 years of operating awe-inspiring cruises but celebrates the 20-year anniversary of achieving ECO Certification with Ecotourism Australia. The Coral Expeditions team say that sustainability is part of their DNA.

“ECO Certification holds immense significance for Coral Expeditions due to our unwavering commitment to the destinations we are fortunate to explore,” said Tilly Wickramasekera, Marketing Coordinator at Coral Expeditions. “Our dedication lies in leaving these natural environments in a better state than we found them.”

With diverse environments to explore in areas that others cannot reach, Coral Expeditions go above and beyond to protect them.

The legacy operator participates in Rapid Monitoring Surveys as part of the Eye on the Reef program, sharing reef observations with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and are licenced to remove one of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef, the Crown of Thorns Starfish. Keeping in Queensland, they visit the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island on some of their tours, donating each visit and contributing over $5,000 each year.

Coral Expeditions also donates to incredible institutions like the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) which supplies facilities for coral reef research and education, and the Bare Sands Turtle Sanctuary, while providing transport and staff equipment when required.

On board, they provide SPF50+ reef safe sunscreen, a non-toxic alternative to normal sunscreens, and have significantly reduced its plastic wastage in their supply chain.

Wickramasekera stated, “Sustainable practices are at the core of our values, and we continually seek opportunities to safeguard and conserve the beauty of both terrestrial and marine landscapes.”

Between their contributions to protecting land and water environments across Australia, they look forward to the moments when they can get their guests involved.

“While we are very proud of all our sustainability initiatives, our Citizen Science voyages have become an annual occurrence in our sailing schedule, and an initiative that is close to our hearts,” stated Wickramasekera. “These voyages offer guests a chance to contribute to conservation programs including biodiversity databases, wildlife rehabilitation and coral science throughout the voyages.”

Learning from the success of their 2021 Citizen Science departure, a voyage launching on 23 October 2023, and another two launching in early 2024 and 2025, are in sight and not to be missed.

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