Whitsunday tourism operators cut emissions for Reef

Whitsunday-based tourism operators Jan and Peter Claxton have struck a winning formula for the Great Barrier Reef, their clients and their bottom line.

The couple, who own Ocean Rafting in the Whitsundays, has cut their fuel and oil use by 30 per cent over recent years.

It's an achievement which has made them industry leaders in responding to climate change and looking after the Great Barrier Reef.

"Our business is intrinsically linked to the health and welfare of the Reef so we felt a strong sense of duty to minimise our impact on climate change," Mrs Claxton said.

"We decided that reducing our outboard engine emissions was the single most important step we could take in this direction."

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Tourism and Recreation Director Chris Briggs said high standard tourism operators such as Ocean Rafting were leading the way in looking after the marine environment.

"A healthy Reef is vital to a healthy tourism industry and operators who implement best practice are minimising their impact on the Reef while also improving their position in the marketplace.

"The Great Barrier Reef Tourism Climate Change Action Strategy recognises there are considerable savings to be made by calculating, reducing and monitoring emissions.

"We've worked with tourism operators to develop the first online emissions calculator specific to the marine tourism industry and we recommend it to anyone wanting to get a better picture of where they can make savings."

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

Mrs Claxton said they had slashed their carbon emissions by replacing the two-stroke engines on their semi rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) with ultra low-emission four-stroke engines.

"The four strokes are more reliable, have fewer environmental impacts and reduce fuel and oil use by 30 per cent," Mrs Claxton said.

"Our clients have commented that the engines are much quieter and the exhaust fumes aren't as smelly, so the four-stroke engines are much better from a passenger comfort point of view."

The Claxtons operate four boats in the Whitsundays. They are certified by Ecotourism Australia as being environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.