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The objective of this research project is to identify opportunities to promote Noosa Biosphere Reserve as a sustainable tourism destination. Included is a review of the current literature and information regarding sustainable tourism trends globally and how this relates to Noosa’s tourism industry. Eco-certification programs that are currently available to Noosa tourism operators have been researched and summarised, including the process and cost involved in gaining certification.
Qualitative research was also conducted by way of an industry online survey of Tourism Noosa members, to gain an insight into the level of certification currently held by tourism businesses within Noosa Biosphere, business owner’s knowledge of certification programs and/or their desire to learn more about eco-certification. Questions were also asked relating to the business owners knowledge of Noosa Biosphere, their perceptions of what the designation means to them and if they include any information about the Biosphere in their marketing material to visitors. They were also asked about their current involvement in Noosa Biosphere Ltd activities and/or their desire to be involved.
Through secondary research interviews with, a range of eco-certified and non-certified operators further information was gathered about tourism business owner’s motivations, experiences and knowledge of eco-certification programs.
The research results highlighted that within Noosa’s tourism industry there is a high level of interest shown by tourism operators in moving towards more sustainable business practices. Many are taking action through the implementation of a wide array of environmental and sustainable activities. Also, while currently there is not a significantly high level of eco-certification within Noosa’s tourism industry there is a strong foundation and potential to grow the level of certification as the majority of non-certified operators stated they were interested in learning more about eco-certification.
The additional research interviews conducted further highlighted that there are many businesses within the tourism industry that are implementing innovative, best practice environmental management techniques and activities but who have not sought certification or recognition. This again demonstrates that there is potential to educate, encourage and support these businesses to achieve eco-certification or at a minimum their achievements can be showcased and promoted, both to consumers and to other tourism operators to enhance the marketability of Noosa Biosphere as a sustainable tourism destination.
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