Today’s interview is with Tony Charters, Founding Director and long-time board member of Ecotourism Australia. Tony shares with us his views on the influence of social media on the adoption of sustainable business practices. He also discusses the importance of eco-certifications and why many of them fail, and how tourism can positively impact climate change. Drawing on almost 25 years of experience, Tony offers invaluable insight that you won’t want to miss.
- How social media can accelerate the adoption of good practices in tourism;
- What it takes for an Eco-certification scheme to be successful;
- How ecotourism can become a powerful tool to fight climate change;
- Whether ‘greenwashing’ is an issue in Australia;
- How eco-certifications can help businesses become more sustainable;
- The most critical aspects linked to sustainable tourism development;
- Success stories of how tourism can act as a positive force for change;
- Tony’s career advice to newcomers to the (sustainable) tourism industry.
Tony, you began your professional career as an environmental scientist and urban planner. How do these areas of expertise support your work today in sustainable tourism and planning?
I was in the second year’s intake at the newly established Griffith University in the late 70’s. At that time, ‘environmental science’ was seen by many as a ‘pseudo science’. And yet, time and time again over the years, the multi-disciplinary approach adopted in that undergraduate degree course proved to be extremely valuable and relevant.
To this day, this approach is so important – bringing specialists together, understanding their language and applying environmental science to tourism planning. Sustainable tourism and ecotourism rely on a light touch to the environment. Environmental science and protected area planning are a natural fit for this work.