One of the businesses leading the way in the Bundaberg Region's bid to gain Eco Destination certification is Kellys Beach Resort and its focus on connecting people with nature.
Nestled on a creek, just a block back from the famous Bargara beach, Kellys Beach Resort gained eco-certification through EcoTourism Australia in 2015.
Internationally recognised, this certification allows guests to relax in the knowledge that the resort is doing everything it can to protect the natural beauty of the Bundaberg coastline and the waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef while they holiday.
Loni Hammond, who helps run this family-owned business with her mother and sister, moved to Bundaberg 18 years ago.
She was immediately struck by the beauty of the region and a desire to protect the natural resources at the heart of Bundaberg Region life.
“We have a real sense of responsibility, as business owners, to do our bit to promote the conservation of how beautiful it is here,” she said.
The family embeds caring for the environment into every aspect of their business, reducing their carbon emissions by 35 per cent over the past eight years as a result.
While the resort reduces its energy, waste and water use behind the scenes, staff also ask guests to ‘think green’ wherever they can.
“At several touchpoints guests are invited to make a positive difference during their stay,” Loni said.
“At the point of booking, guests are invited to plant a tree with Kellys through Greenfleet.
“At the rubbish bin, guests can contribute to Containers For Change and recycle in a way that provides money to the local Sea Turtle Alliance organisation.”
Loni said the key was connecting with guests and working together to make an impact.
“It's us doing it together (with guests) that brings about positive, sustainable change,” she said.
“The response from guests is overwhelmingly positive.
“There’s a lot of people who thank us for what we are doing!”
Eco-cleaning keeps waterways clean
Nothing is more important to guests than checking into a clean and tidy room.
Kellys keeps its eco-villas clean and green by avoiding harsh chemicals that can build up on surfaces.
German-designed fibreglass cleaning cloths and bicarb-based cleaning products keep the villas sparkling for guests.
Not only are such methods beloved by asthmatics and people who can’t tolerate fragrances, Loni said this approach led to a superior clean.
“It actually breaks up dirt and germs rather than just putting a chemical on top of it, which more germs stick to!” she said.
She said this kind of cleaning helped to protect the waterways that flow into the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
“A lot of the water goes straight out to that creek, so the less chemicals there are, the better,” Loni said.
Get your business Eco Certified
The ECO Destination Certification Program is a world first by Ecotourism Australia and Council’s goal is for the Bundaberg Region to become certified as an ECO Destination.
Bundaberg Regional Council is offering local tourism operators the opportunity to strengthen their appeal to high yielding, environmentally conscious visitor markets, by becoming ECO Certified through Ecotourism Australia by way of a cash subsidy to offset the first annual certification fee.
The ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.
You can find out more here.
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