In case you missed it, there’s a green-tourism revolution afoot, with travellers increasingly making more conscious choices. Business events are a big driver of travel so let’s keep the green momentum going for delegates.
With Cairns & Great Barrier Reef home to two World Heritage-listed sites, eco-friendly events in the region are essential. The good news for event organisers is having a positive impact on the environment need not cost you or your delegates your creature comforts. Lighten your footprint with these eight ways to be a more eco-conscious event organiser.
1. Seek out providers that are eco certified
When you’re spoilt for accommodation and experience choice like in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, it’s helpful to have an eco-tourism filter to narrow your options down. To make your Cairns & Great Barrier Reef business event as green as possible go straight to the source of eco certification in Australia, Ecotourism Australia’s ecotourism guide, The Green Travel Guide.
For operators to wear one of their three logos – Eco Certified Tourism, Respecting Our Culture Certified and Climate Action Certification – they must go through a rigorous assessment process to achieve one of the five different accreditation levels. So, you know you’re working with the real eco-friendly deal.
2. Stay somewhere sustainable
Your delegates will sleep soundly knowing they’re leaving minimal impact by booking accommodation that gives more than it takes from the environment.
Accommodation falls into Ecotourism Australia’s assessment system if you’re looking for a single source of truth (see above). Alternatively, some accommodation groups have their own self-accreditation systems so it pays to do your research. Take for instance Crystalbrook Collection’s sustainable luxury (pictured above) or Accor’s global eco-accreditation, which each prove they’ve earnt their sustainable stripes.
From hotels with rooftop gardens to villas with recycled rainwater, going green has never looked so comfortable as it does with the eco-luxury you’ll find in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef.
3. Tour with guides who live and breathe the natural environment
There are regular tour guides and then there’s an eco-elite echelon – the Master Reef Guides, Wet Tropics Guides and Savannah Guides – who undergo certified training to wear their titles. When you’re planning the fun stuff on your agenda, select pre and post touring options or mid-conference touring days that you know will allow delegates to leave greater.
With a sole purpose to protect and interpret the environment for your delegates, you’ll find Savannah Guides touring the tropical Savannah aka Gulf country, Wet Tropics Guides in the rainforest, and Master Reef Guides championing the Great Barrier Reef.
4. Always respect the environment you’re visiting
The region’s two world heritage listed sites the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest received their status for meeting certain criteria, one of which is “to contain areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance”. Protecting its beauty should be on everyone’s to do list.
Contrary to popular belief, coming to see the Great Barrier Reef is one of the single best ways you can help in its conservation. Every visitor to the reef pays an Environmental Management Charge which contributes to the day-to-day management of the Marine Park and funding the research that is improving its long-term resilience. This charge also helps contribute to the Great Barrier Reef status of the world’s best managed reef.
What about the times when your delegates are enjoying a little free time in the agenda? Be sure to encourage them to embrace the ethos of leaving only footprints and taking only photographs as they explore the region. This can be as simple as keeping on the paths and following signs. Ensure delegates take all litter and suggest they go one step further by taking every trace of rubbish they see during their exploration; leave the natural environment even more beautiful than when your group arrived.
5. Reduce your consumption of single-use plastic
Small acts add up to big impact – none more so than eliminating single-use plastics from your lifestyle, whether at home or at an event.
Take banning plastic straws for instance. Australians used about 10 million each day, which is how they became the focus of the Straw No More campaign launched by 10-year-old Cairns local, Molly Steer back in 2018. The campaign was embraced by operators across the region and soon mandated by the State Government (following many other states).
No matter where your event is in the world, you can make an impact by supporting businesses who have gone plastic free, and be sure to check your own event tote bag. Banish the brochures, USBs, and merch for the sake of merch.
6. Shop local and support small business
Rather than stock up on souvenirs imported from faraway lands, shop local for speaker gifts and VIP hampers at one of Cairns & Great Barrier Reef’s markets. If you need it beforehand, Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef can take care of a little shopping for you.
You’ll find everything from artisan handmade goods to tropical produce to gift your VIPs a taste of the tropics. Alternatively, support local businesses by investing in experiences in the region, rather than things to take away from this natural wonderland.
7. Carbon offset your travel
Kick off your eco-conscious event before your delegates even land in Cairns by carbon offsetting flights. Whilst you’re in the region, you can continue the trend and use Tropic Wings’ electric bus to move your delegates around, and as of 2023, five new electric buses will be added to Cairns’ public bus fleet.
For the managing director or VIP, consider hiring an electric vehicle from Cairns Luxury Cars. Send them off on the Tropical North Queensland Electric Vehicle Drive, which connects Mena Creek in the south with the Daintree Rainforest in the north across 500km of Wet Tropics scenery, all powered by electricity.
8. Build in corporate social responsibility
Long gone are the days of collecting a tote bag of brochures, USBs, branded cap and water bottle at every tradeshow, conference, exhibition, or incentive you attend. We’re in the age of conscious travel where organisations and delegates want events with purpose that align with their own corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
With a number of business events suppliers in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef actively engaging in CSR programs in their daily operations themselves, it’s an easy connection to providing CSR opportunities for your event. It goes hand-in-hand with our eco-sustainable practices. Let’s team up to give back to nature and leave a GREAT legacy from your business event.