Tree Hugger Travel

Sep 20, 2023 | Case Study

Tree Hugger Travels
Travel Agency
Gimuy / Cairns, QLD

A new benefit as of this year, all Business Supporters receive access to Ecotourism Australia’s Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard to demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement and to grow on their sustainability journey. Read on to discover what Business Supporter Tree Hugger Travel thought of the Scorecard program.

Tree Hugger Travel founder John Paul Whelan lives and breathes ethical and sustainable travel and, as a travel agent, he encourages his clients to make a positive impact on the communities and places they visit. Their travel packages often feature ECO Certified operators as well as opportunities for travellers to give back with citizen science and conservation experiences.

Since the business’ inception in 2018, Tree Hugger Travel has been dedicated to supporting wildlife and habitat conservation around the world through their collaboration with World Land Trust, directly funding the purchase and protection of 27 acres of biologically diverse habitats. Now they are turning to projects closer to home, those protecting ancient rainforest and iconic species here in Australia. The goal is every booking will make a difference and Tree Hugger Travel’s sights are firmly set on securing wildlife corridors and land re-connecting the Wet Tropics including the Daintree and Atherton Tablelands.

For John, sustainability is everything to his business. So when he saw the opportunity to participate in the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard as part of Tree Hugger Travel’s Business Supporter membership, he jumped at the chance to gain tangible insights into his business’s sustainability performance and advice on how to improve.

John said, “I already had a reasonably solid understanding of low impact, ethical, nature and wildlife tourism and how to tread lightly before completing the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard. However, it really helped me to expand my knowledge on sustainability and better understand some of the nuances beyond environmental sustainability, particularly in social and cultural sustainability.”

Using the simply set out online portal, he was easily able to work through the criteria at a pace that suited him as a small, solo operator.

“The portal was self-explanatory to work through and, while I took my time going through each criteria, it was really valuable to be able to put everything that is often just floating around in my head down in documents and to see my business from a birds eye view.”

For John, the main benefit of completing the Scorecard program stemmed from the opportunity to reflect on his business.

“Previously, I had been too time-poor to properly evaluate my business on a deeper level and to measure my sustainability performance. The Scorecard gave me time to reflect and to use this as an opportunity to develop my business with a foundation of holistic sustainability. I also was able to question and understand my values and processes more thoroughly which was important for me.”

For Tree Hugger Travel their sustainability journey doesn’t end here. Their next steps involve building a solid foundation of sustainability across the entire business and to continue learning and sharing with their network.

“At Tree Hugger Travel, we’re a resource for tomorrow’s traveller so we want to connect to customers through responsible travel and sustainability information on our blogs. We also intend to better connect with local groups and travellers to continue the sustainability learning journey together and to build a community for regenerative tourism.”

Click here to discover more about Tree Hugger Travel on the Ecotourism Australia website.

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard is as a benefit included in Business Supporter and Corporate Supporter membership with Ecotourism Australia. Head to our website to learn more about Ecotourism Australia membership.

Tree Hugger Travel completed their Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard on 9 August 2023 and is a snapshot of their current sustainability practices. The scorecard is not a certification and is valid for 12 months upon completion.

Start your sustainability journey.