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Living Sustainable Tourism

One of the key objectives for Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim is to meet the growing market demand for unspoilt and authentic destinations in a sustainable manner.

Sustainable tourism rests on the three ‘pillars’ of sustainability (economic, social and environmental).  The World Tourism Organisation defines sustainable tourism as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” (WTO 2005)

We have subsequently built our sustainable tourism program around the 12 guiding principles outlined within South Australia’s Sustainable Tourism Plan:

1. Being different

The key to successful and sustainable tourism is achieving a clear sense of difference from other competing tours and substitutes, based on the attributes and strengths of our tours and activities.

2. Achieving authenticity

The attractions most likely to be successful, and those with the greatest enduring appeal, are those which are genuinely relevant to the history, industry, culture lifestyle and natural resources of the district.

3. Reflecting community values

This means representing the past, present and future aspirations of the local community in a living and dynamic way rather than embalming the past. This involves listening to and responding to the community as well as to customers. 

4. Understanding and targeting the market

Understanding the broad market trends and the needs of specific segments is critical. This involves the development of specialised products and marketing communications based on the inherent attributes of an area.

5. Enhancing the experience

Peoples motivation for travel is to seek something they cannot experience at home. The ‘bundling’ of attributes enhances the appeal of a tour, and the likelihood of guests choosing to experience it.

6. Adding value

Adding value to existing attributes achieves a richer tourism experience and helps to diversify the local economy. This includes partnering wherever we can with fellow tourism operators and related industries and making full use of the diverse and dynamic nature of our team’s skills, experiences and expertise.

7. Respecting natural and cultural values

Sustainable tourism development derives its form and appeal from these qualities, and adds to the special nature of the destination and in particular respects ecological processes.

8. Achieving conservation outcomes

A mutually beneficial alliance can be achieved between tourism and conservation. That is, through understanding and enjoyment comes greater appreciation and empathy, advocacy and protection for the resource.  We commit to working proactively to ensure all stakeholders’ needs are well satisfied.

9. Having good ‘content’ (‘telling the story’)

Tourism development can interpret (present and explain) natural, social, historic and ecological features. ‘Telling the story’ provides a more rewarding experience and helps conserve the destination.

10. Achieving excellence and innovation in design

Good design respects the resource, achieves conservation outcomes, reflects community values, and is instrumental in telling the story. It is not just about form and function but also about invoking an emotional response from the visitor.

11. Providing mutual benefits to visitors and hosts

Tourism is not encouraged for its own sake. It is an economic and community development tool and must take into account the benefits that both the host community and the visitor seek.

12. Building local capacity

Good tourism businesses do not stand isolated from the communities they operate in. They get involved with the community and collaborate with other businesses and stakeholders to build a positive and self-sufficient capacity.