Cairns reef operator Passions of Paradise has won Ecotourism Australia’s 2013 Innovation in Ecotourism Award, announced at the Global Eco Conference on November 18 at Noosa.
The locally owned company specialises in personalised snorkelling, diving and sailing adventures on the Great Barrier Reef visiting both Michaelmas Cay and exclusive Paradise Reef in a day.
Passions of Paradise Sales and Marketing Manager Adam O’Malley said the company had won the award by taking innovative steps to not only protect the Great Barrier Reef, but educate passengers about its ecological value.
“We operate in a World Heritage area so we continually strive to protect this amazing ecosystem and make sure our passengers go away as ambassadors armed with the knowledge about what makes our reef so special,” he said.
“Passions of Paradise has a reputation for giving people a fun adventure on the Great Barrier Reef so we have created environmental programs reflecting that philosophy.
“This includes sailing home from the Great Barrier Reef to reduce fuel consumption and introducing the National Geographic Diver Program to allow passengers to be a scientist for a day by joining a research project documenting the corals and fish they see.
“More than 100,000 passengers have been introduced to the role sharks play in the environment through our Save a Shark program which has raised $25,000 for student research into sharks.
“As a result of the many steps we have taken to reduce our footprint on the planet, Passions of Paradise has become one of 13 companies in Australia to be awarded Climate Action Leader status from Ecotourism Australia.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason congratulated Passions of Paradise saying it was wonderful to see Australia’s peak ecotourism award going to Tropical North Queensland for the third year in a row.
“We have three World Heritage areas within our region with two declared as National Landscapes and we care for these precious ecosystems with the highest proportion of ecoaccredited operators in Australia,” he said.
“Tropical North Queensland is all about nature-based activities and our innovative tourism industry delivers more than 600 daily tours offering an insight into the land, sea, native wildlife and Indigenous culture.
“Included in this is an incredible 100 different ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef with memorable adventures like swimming with minke whales, diving for citizen science and witnessing the annual coral spawn.”