Commercial and non-commercial use
Figure 5.5 percentage of visitors carried on high standard tourism operations, 2004–2013
Since the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s High Standard Tourism program began in 2004, the increasing number of certified high standard tourism operations has resulted in a higher number and proportion (percentage shown in the bars) of tourists using certified tourism products to visit the Reef. (Visitor numbers shown includes those undertaking coral viewing and scenic flights.) Source: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 20139
As at 2013, 15 of the certified high standard operators are also certified by Ecotourism Australia through the Climate Action Certification program.11 The program recognises tourism operators that operate to best practice and take initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Great Barrier Reef Tourism Climate Change Action Strategy 2009–2012 resulted in a range of products being developed to assist the tourism industry to reduce its climate footprint, including case studies, operator workshops, an online tourism operator’s emissions calculator, climate incident response plans and climate action standards in both the Climate Action Certification and ECO Certification programs.
Marine tourism taking climate action
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is located on the southernmost reef island in the Great Barrier Reef. Operating an island resort 80 kilometres out to sea presents a multitude of daily challenges. The resort generates its own power, desalinates seawater for drinking, maintains a waste water treatment plant and recycles the majority of its rubbish. The resort has gained a wealth of knowledge about efficient technologies, sustainable island management and is a model for sustainable tourism on the Great Barrier Reef. The resort is certified under both the ECO Certification and Climate Action Certification programs. It operates on a ‘Four Es’ philosophy — to look after our Environment we need to be Efficient, Economically sustainable and able to Educate effectively. An energy audit of the resort’s use of diesel generators and appliances was undertaken in 2005. By 2008, the generators had been replaced with a large hybrid solar power system. At the same time the resort’s energy use was reduced by 32 per cent. By 2013, the resort’s diesel consumption was almost 70 per cent lower.
The island’s lessee, Peter Gash, with a bank of solar panels