Australia’s growing participation in Responsible Tourism: the winners and wider support

The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2012 held at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London rewarded Australia with two awards this year and acknowledged world ‘best practice’ by Centroc,  a regional NSW council group.
Moonraker Dolphin Swims won ‘Best in a Marine Environment’. They provide visitors the opportunity to swim with Burranan Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals. The company monitors the population and health of the marine life to ensure that visitation does not negatively impact the natural wild environment.
‘Best in Responsible Transport’ (joint winners) was won by Green Tomato Cars (UK and Australia) who offer low emitting vehicles using the shortest route.

The awards were held on World Responsible Tourism Day 2012 (WRTD), a calendar date which seeks to showcase world best practice in responsible tourism and is supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Official Australian supporter Centroc (Central NSW Regional Councils) became the first local government group to participate and be acknowledged for seeking to make tourism more sustainable and beneficial for communities. Professor Harold Goodwin, advisor to the WTM videoed a personal note of congratulations to Centroc for its progressive tourism approach.


Centroc has shown leadership by integrating three strands of responsible tourism strategy into cohesive plan to maximise the benefits of the visitor economy for the local community while minimising negative environmental and maximising social impacts:

  • 100 Mile Diet which seeks to encourage supply chain linkage and visitor buying local fresh produce
  • Supporting Central NSW Tourism’s initiative of cultural heritage and art appreciation using discovery trails
  • Community event programme 100,000 Hands which seeks to encourage development of local events which reflect the distinctive qualities of villages and towns

Australia also recorded is highest level of official WRTD supporters this year. Entrants are required to submit a written proposal indicating how their project meets the Cape Town Declaration 2002 for Responsible Tourism in Destinations and then are officially assessed by WRTD body.

This WRTD also saw  ICRT – Australia’s director Christopher Warren  delivered a paper on the case for Responsible Tourism to the Hills & Hawesbury Tourism Conference

Christopher explained how “Responsible Tourism can make places better to live in and better to visit. The ICRT-Australia research shows that Australians are interested in taking eco-friendly holidays, what they seek is more information to help them make a responsible choice”

Later that day Christopher attended a regional local government summit in Bathurst where he presented a tourism and cultural heritage conservation presentation to Centroc. He highlighted “that the region has over 1130 Natural Trust listed sites of significance which represent an enormous treasure trove that could be carefully harnessed to help distinguish the region and help generate economic benefits for communities”. Christopher  congratulated Centroc on their “foresight and creativity to introduce leading edge thinking that will contribute to maximising the visitor economy for the benefit of communities”.


Read and watch the World Responsible Tourism papers and debates held at the World Travel Market 2012.

Read the media coverage in Australia:

eGlobal Tavel Media

Tourism Industry Council NSW