Climate action good for Reef and business

When Terry Hudson set out to get Climate Action Certification for his Whitsunday sailing business, his main goal was to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The spin-offs for his operation have been reduced fuel costs, higher passenger numbers and well-trained staff.

Mr Hudson said Southern Cross Sailing Adventures was one of the first tourism operations in the Whitsundays to get Climate Action Certification with Ecotourism Australia.

"We were already certified as an Ecotourism business, but we wanted to do more to look after the long-term health of the Reef," he said.

"We worked closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to achieve Climate Action Certification and it really opened our eyes as to where we could save money and do more for the environment."

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority General Manager Andrew Skeat said Southern Cross Sailing Adventures was among a number of high standard tourism operators working with marine managers to reduce their impact on the Reef.

"A healthy Great Barrier Reef is vital for a healthy tourism industry and we commend operators who are taking action to minimise their impact on the marine environment," he said.

"We've worked with tourism operators to establish a Great Barrier Reef Tourism Climate Change Action Strategy to guide operators on how they can improve reef health and the viability of their industry.

"Gaining certification that recognises best practice is one of the key actions identified in this strategy."

The agency is recognising marine tourism operators who are taking powerful action on climate change to encourage other operators to adopt best environmental practices.

Mr Hudson said the ECO certification was good for business because many tourists chose service providers with good environmental credentials.

"Our guests tell us that certification was an important factor in their decision to choose Southern Cross, especially those from Europe and the UK."

"Our crew members absolutely love it; they're passionate about maintaining high environmental standards on our seven vessels because the Reef and their livelihoods depend on it."