by | Feb 6, 2022 | Article

Phillip Island Nature Reserve

A young woman holding the Hall of Fame plaque in a drive way with a little house and trees behind her.

When four of Ecotourism Australia’s most enduring members reached 20 years of ECO Certification in 2021, tourism businesses were amidst one of the most difficult periods in history as international arrivals came to a halt and domestic travellers were stuck at home.

Now, their legacy with Ecotourism Australia is a cornerstone of their journey to overcoming hardship and they enter the Hall of Fame.

There is a rapidly increasing desire to search for sustainable travel options amongst tourists globally, and our ecotourism operators are answering the call. The 2022 Sustainable Travel Research Report by Booking.com, with insights from 30,000 people in 32 countries, found that 71% of travellers want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months, a 10% increase compared to 2021’s findings. 74% of consumers say they would choose a destination, lodging, or transportation option that is committed to supporting the local community and culture according to the 2022 Sustainable Travel study by Expedia, with some even willing to spend more for sustainable options.

Sites like Booking.com, Google and The Green Travel Guide are making it easier than ever to find ECO certified tours, accommodations and experiences that align with travellers’ increasing desire for business transparency and ensure that operators align with their values.

Each of 2021’s Hall of Fame operators has a long history of nature conservation, environmental education, and a passion for making each sustainable initiative bigger and better. Here is their legacy as leaders in the ecotourism industry.


Phillip Island Nature Parks (Victoria)

Three employees from Phillip Island Nature Park holding the Hall of Fame 20 yrs plaque on a hill of brown grass.

Certified EcoGuides Rachel Ong, Stephen Pendlebury and Meagan Tucker from Phillip Island Nature Parks.

Phillip Island Nature Parks let visitors access some of Australia’s cutest and most elusive marine animals. But seeing the island’s adorable little penguin population or one of Australia’s largest Fur Seal populations isn’t all about ‘awws’ and ‘ahhs’. Every ticket purchase contributes to protecting these creatures through world-leading research.

Understanding the island’s largest threats is vital to their 30-year conservation vision, so scientists can protect the island’s vital ecosystems (and you can make those penguins a staple in your summer holiday).

2021 also marked the 100th anniversary of Phillip Island Nature Park’s popular penguin exploration, the Penguin Parade. Long before Phillip Island Nature Parks began, Bert West (pictured below) alongside fellow Phillip Island residents Bern Denham and Bert Watchorn took keen tourists by torchlight to see the island’s little penguins in the 1920s.

People watching the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island Nature Parks.

Penguin Parade. Phillip Island Nature Parks.

With a long history dedicated to penguin appreciation, Phillip Island Nature Parks understands the what it takes to build a sustainable ecotourism business.

“Our best advice is to be fearless and honest as a business,” stated Phillip Island Nature Parks.

“First, make an audit of all your work practices to understand what is sustainable and what isn’t – everything from workflow, systems and processes.”

“Don’t be disheartened if your first application doesn’t make it,” they stated. “Trust that it’s a journey – but a worthwhile one. Becoming sustainable is financially viable, and it means a lot for consumers, customers and stakeholders. Connecting with like-minded businesses can also help, as you swap and compare strategies, work together and celebrate success.”


Great Adventures – Green Island Resort (Queensland)

A man holding the Hall of Fame 20 yrs plaque on a bridge to a little paradisic island.

Great Adventures

In World Heritage Listed and tropical paradise the Great Barrier Reef, Great Adventures – Green Island Resort are committed to nurturing the environment they call home.

For Green Island Resort, building an eco resort in a fragile environment was no small feat. That’s why every aspect of the resort is built with the purpose. From water conservation initiatives that replenish the rainforest to painting the resort in colours compatible with the environment, Green Island Resort set a benchmark for luxury ecotourism accommodation.

Reaching 20 years of ECO Certification with Ecotourism Australia is a significant and proud achievement, for the Quicksilver Group who own and operate Great Adventures and Green Island Resort.

Environment and Compliance Manager Doug Baird recognises ECO certification is a journey. ”At Green Island Resort, we set realistic and achievable goals and built on those successes to gain momentum. We encourage any business looking at ECO Certification to take this approach.”

Building on their successes has meant industry-wide recognition. They have been awarded Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame as part of the Quicksilver Group, and the Hall of Fame in the Queensland Hotels Association Awards. Their legacy in ecotourism and their commitment to sustainable tourism is now immortalised in Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame.


Australian Luxury Escapes (National)

A smiling couple which is holding the Hall of Fame 20 years plaque in front of a forest.

Australian Luxury Escapes

Australia Luxury Escapes has been setting an example for ecotourism since they began operations in 1988, persevering at times when sustainability was not so fashionable. Thanks to their efforts, Australian Luxury Escapes entered in the Ecotourism Hall of Fame in 2021. Introducing travelers to the best of luxury Australian experiences that tread lightly on the natural environment, their handcrafted experiences connect people with local communities, provide access to incredible natural areas, and create unforgettable experiences.

In 2020, they removed all plastic water bottles and instead gave their guests an aluminium bottles to last beyond their luxury holiday. What may seem like small changes are making a world of difference for holidaymakers and reducing the burden of plastic production on the natural environment.

In thirty plus years of operations, Elise Charlesworth from Australian Luxury Escapes recommends, “Be true to yourself and provide an authentic experience. Align with partners that carry the same values and enhance your product.”


Moonraker Dolphin Swims (Victoria)

A young couple with snorkling masks on smiling in the camera with more snorkelers and boat in the background.

Moonraker Dolphin Swims.

Moonraker Dolphin Swims and their passionate team of marine lovers have also been inducted in Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame.

I mean, how couldn’t you love getting out in the water every day? You’ll fall in love with Victoria’s southern oceans as Moonraker Dolphin Swims bring their guests on swims with excitable wild dolphins and seals.

They have cultivated a close partnership with the Dolphin Research Institute to in their commitment to environmental protection and research. Through their donations more than 5,000 junior ambassadors have completed the ‘IseeIcare’ program, cultivating a generation of marine protectors and environmental leaders.

Moonraker Dolphin Swims has also committed to offsetting 100% of their carbon emissions with the help of Carbon Neutral, allowing travellers to experience Victoria’s marine life more sustainably. With Advanced Ecotourism Certification, and now in 2021’s Hall of Fame, their sustainability and ecotourism experience makes them a trusted tourism business.

Congratulations to all our 2021 Hall of Fame entrants.

Cover image: Green Island Resort.

Discover More: