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Ecotourism Australia reviews 2020 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference

Ecotourism Australia reviews 2020 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference
December 14, 2020

Ecotourism Australia’s Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference, held early December 2020 in Margaret River, Western Australia, drew on the theme ‘Revolution, Driving Evolution’ and opened up the opportunity to take stock, review and reassess the industry and its path forward, giving voice to a diversity of players who offer fresh and innovative industry perspectives.

2020 has proven a critical time for the tourism industry. With the massive disruption through the bushfires of 2019 followed by the universally devastating impact of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to come together, draw on the collective strengths to re-assess, reflect and recover.

During the conference - now in its 28th year - more than 220 delegates representing all states of Australia and five different countries heard from leaders and innovators in ecotourism academia, industry and governance.

Due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19, Global Eco offered for the first time both live and virtual attendance options. Additionally, a total of five applicant ECO Destinations across the country played host to the live streamed program as a mini conference ‘satellite node’ for their region.

Day 1 at Global Eco 2020 kicked off with delegates and attendees tuning in to the HEART, Margaret River from right across the country. Bundaberg, QLD’s satellite node hosted a “Launch into Ecotourism” breakfast as a networking opportunity for their attendees.

Delegates were inspired by Craig Wickham (Exceptional Kangaroo Island) and the audience took stock on 'Surviving the Impacts of Natural Disasters and Pandemics' with Amy Carter-James and Lee Miezis (Bushfire Recovery Victoria) and Sonia Beckwith (Live Ningaloo). Later in the day, insights were gained from the CEO Forum featuring Peter Sharp (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA), Lisa Shreeve (Busselton Jetty), Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Phillipa Harrison (Tourism Australia).

Day 2 of the conference saw continued activity in the satellite nodes on the Central Coast (NSW), Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD), Bundaberg (QLD) and Townsville (QLD). Coffs Coast joined in, streaming Day 2 from the C.ex Coffs International Stadium.

The morning kicked off with two morning parallel plenary sessions: ‘Ecotourism Post COVID-19’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism’.

After lunch came the ‘Inspire’ keynote, delivered by Gary Muir (WOW Wilderness Ecocruises). Gary Muir was recognised as an Eco-guide in 1998 when the Global Eco Conference was last held in Margaret River. Now, 22 years later, he has built an incredible career, having delivered his special brand of environmental interpretation to thousands of people as an ecotourism operator and educator.

Innes Larkin (Mt Barney Lodge), Rod Quartermain (Tina Smitherman Consultants) and Dr Erika Jacobson (Edgewalkers) spoke in the ‘Forum of Revolutionary Ideas’.

The last session of the day focussed on ‘New Alliances, New Paths’ and featured Professor Ross Dowling AM (Edith Cowan University) Professor Brent Ritchie (The University of Queensland) and Louise Cashmore (Origins Market).

To top it off, conference delegates in Western Australia enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Voyager Estate in the Margaret River region, and attendees of the Coffs Coast satellite node finished the day with industry networking drinks.

Day 3 began with two morning parallel plenary streams ‘Evolving Ecotourism and ECO Destinations’ and ‘Best Practices in WA Ecotourism. Additionally, the attendees of the Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, QLD) satellite node experienced an insightful cultural tour of Goompi (Dunwich).

The afternoon session focussed on Indigenous Ecotourism and featured Cameron Costello (Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation), Rosie Sandover and Rebecca Sampi (Kingfisher Tours); and Robert Taylor (WAITOC).

Anna Pollock presented virtually from the United Kingdom providing the third and final ‘Inspire’ keynotes. Pollock is known globally for her 40+ years’ work in sustainable tourism and her Conscious Travel movement. At Global Eco, she spoke about regenerative tourism.

Alexandra Burt (The Landsmith Collection) and Dermot O'Gorman (WWF-Australia) discussed the topic of ‘Evolving Ecotourism’ in the last keynote session before the conference close.

To view the presentations given at this years’ Global Eco Conference, click here.

Related Articles

20th November 2020 - Five Satellite Node ECO Destinations to host Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference

29th May 2020 - Global Eco Asia-Pacific commits to 2020 conference in Margaret River

20th October 2019 - Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference aims to inspire nature-based tourism leaders

16th November 2017 - Last chances to register for 25th Annual Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference

25th May 2016 - Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference to be staged at Hobart’s MONA

25th November 2020 - Leading ecotourism businesses inducted into Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame

13th November 2020 - Ecotourism attraction proposals sought for Western Australia’s Wellington National Park

4th November 2020 - Ecotourism Australia partners with WWF Australia to support bushfire-affected tourism destinations

24th October 2020 - Ecotourism Australia announces new directors

7th October 2020 - Ecotourism Australia questions ‘optimistic’ budget assumptions

24th September 2020 - Ecotourism Australia implores governments for ongoing support of natural attractions and ecotourism experiences

12th August 2020 - Ecotourism Australia’s annual conference offers inaugural online streaming

3rd August 2020 - Ecotourism Australia waivers certification renewals while also planning for Global Eco Conference

25th February 2020 - Queensland Government to deliver its first ecotourism trail

29th January 2020 - Ecotourism accommodation planned for Western Australia’s Millstream Chichester National Park

21st October 2019 - Tasmanian planning tribunal approves Lake Malbena ecotourism development

15th March 2019 - Funding helps complete Far North Queensland ecotourism experience 

1st June 2018 - New walking trail and ecotourism project planned for coastal strip north of Cairns

11th March 2018 - Townsville to host 2018 Ecotourism Australia conference

28th August 2017 - Rottnest Express achieves Ecotourism Certification

22nd March 2016 - Parks Australia looks to develop ecotourism concepts on Christmas Island

30th August 2015 - Naturebank encourages ecotourism opportunities in the Pilbara

23rd July 2015 - Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification Gains Global Approval

2nd May 2015 - Ecotourism in Protected Areas the focus of Myanmar conference

4th October 2013 - Conference to explore ecotourism and global tourism megatrends


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