A Model For Sustainable Tourism In A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Noosa is a thriving beach resort and community on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Popular with tourists, it boasts breathtaking scenery and beautiful white sandy beaches. It is home to over 44% of all Australia’s native bird species and over 700 species of wildlife, including the Australian icons of koalas and grey kangaroos. Over 35% of Noosa’s land is protected, made possible by a passionate community who fought hard to find balance between development and nature. The walking trails of the Noosa National Park are directly accessible to all from the resort centre and provide many stunning lookouts to see marine life and the magnificent sight of over 40,000 humpback whales as they migrate north each year between July and October. It is easy to understand why Noosa Main Beach has just been named in the top ten beaches in the world by Conde Nast Traveller. Noosa Everglades, known as the “River of Mirrors”, further extends the area’s outstanding natural assets. The Noosa Everglades is one of only two everglades systems on the planet and is carefully managed to ensure the preservation of this delicate ecosystem.

Noosa is committed to sustainable tourism and actively sets forth a comprehensive strategy to preserve the area’s environment and social and cultural dimensions for future generations to enjoy.  A designated UNESCO Biosphere since 2007, Noosa is rightly proud of its eco-credentials and works consistently to achieve a delicate balance between preserving its natural wonders and the growth of tourism, which is key to its economy.

Tourism Noosa’s marketing and promotion is underpinned by environmental messaging, and protecting what makes Noosa so special. Marketing campaigns such as, “Where We Roam” are created to highlight the eco credentials and initiatives of the destination, to ensure a harmonious relationship between the local community, the environment and engaging our visitors to tread lightly when they visit.

“Local tour guides such as Joel’s Journeys provide an easy way to explore lesser-known villages”

Campaigns and messaging to visitors and locals encourage the consumption of locally sourced products, including local food and sustainable gifting, and eliminating single-use plastics. Visitors are inspired to explore the rich range of experiences such as the farmers markets, local distilleries, farm gates and micro-breweries.  Local tour guides such as Joel’s Journeys provide an easy way to explore lesser-known villages and meet the makers in the Noosa region https://joelsjourneys.co.au.

This commitment to sustainable tourism ensures operators such as Everglades Eco Safaris operate to the highest environmental standards so visitors can enjoy this pristine environment without compromising its ecological integrity https://evergladesecosafaris.com.au/.

Tourism Noosa’s campaigns prompt responsible behaviour, targeting travellers who are environmentally aware and conscious of their impact when on holiday.  The Noosa community not only embraces but leads the “plastic free” movement by educating visitors on how they can reduce their single-use plastic intake. Tourism Noosa, through its Plastic Free Noosa program, provides information on how, where, and what can be disposed of and recycled to minimise waste through conscious consumption. It includes information such as eco-friendly public transport options for all budget levels, and visiting cafes that offer a ‘mug library’ to avoid take-away coffee cups. To some, these are seemingly small steps, but every initiative is aimed to provide local solutions to global challenges.

For those who want to give back or travel for good, Tourism Noosa’s “Tread Lightly” environmental programs offer several experiences that welcome visitor participation, such as Trees for Tourism tree planting, plastic-free beach clean-ups and oyster bed restoration gardening. The latter aims to bolster the number of oysters in the Noosa River to assist with the restoration of Australia’s lost shellfish ecosystems.

As destinations turn their attention to how they can preserve their natural wonders in the face of increasing numbers of visitors, Noosa provides a model for inspiration.  The Noosa community has been protecting its natural environment for over 60 years and will continue to implement practices to safeguard this natural paradise.

Tourism and travel are a great joy of life, but as tourists, we must seek to travel responsibly and respect areas of the planet that consciously conserve their environments.

More information about Noosa and its many environmental initiatives and holiday inspiration can be found at Visit Noosa https://www.visitnoosa.com.au/campaign/where-we-roam-sustainability https://www.plasticfreenoosa.org

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