World Responsible Tourism Day celebrated the achievements of operators around the world in a special Awards Ceremony held in London on Wednesday, 9 November. The Great Ocean Ecolodge was delighted to receive a Highly Commended Award in the Conservation of Wildlife and Habitats Category – the only Australian organisation to receive an award at this year’s Ceremony.
Namibia’s Africat Okonjima was also Highly Commended and Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi took out the award.
Based in the heart of the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, The Great Ocean Ecolodge is a social enterprise operated by the Conservation Ecology Centre. The Ecolodge itself is entirely solar powered, ecologically responsible and all of its profits go straight into critical conservation projects.
By staying at the Great Ocean Ecolodge guests from all over the world not only support the Conservation Ecology Centre’s important programs, but also have opportunities to get involved, heading out into the Australian bush with conservationists and researchers to ensure the future of endangered and iconic wildlife.
Founders Lizzie Corke and Shayne Neal are thrilled to be acknowledged internationally for their work.
“Guests come to the Great Ocean Ecolodge to share in the amazing wildlife, engage in conservation experiences and reconnect with the natural world,” said Ms Corke, who is also the Centre’s CEO.
“Achieving recognition at this international level is absolutely fantastic and we thank the organisations that nominated and supported us, our guests who return time and again, and especially our team here at Cape Otway who work tirelessly to make a real difference.
“The Great Ocean Road region has special conservation significance, supporting many rare and threatened species, including the Tiger Quoll – the largest marsupial carnivore surviving on the Australian mainland.
“We established the Conservation Ecology Centre with a vision to understand and protect delicate ecosystems. And when guests choose to stay at the beautiful Ecolodge, they’re helping us do just that.”
Justin Francis, Managing Director of responsibletravel.com, said:
“Right now it’s tough times for business – industries the world over are facing difficult questions from a public who want to know if business can be a force for good.
“Tourism is no exception, and thankfully our winners are on hand with the answers. Where travellers ask for authenticity, our winners are there with genuine experiences.
“Where destinations ask ‘what’s in it for me’, our winners share the benefits.”
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, who sponsor the Responsible Tourism Awards said:
“Everyone in the travel industry can and should learn from them and seek ways we can work together to make a meaningful and ongoing commitment to responsible travel.”