Uluru tours, Northern Territory
How Uluru tours, Northern Territory makes a difference
The tour company is an award winning company specialising in small group nature-based tours for the active traveller. An extensive range of tours are available exploring the highlights and hidden delights of the Northern Territory. The tours have an emphasis on the unique scenery, wildlife and Aboriginal culture of each area.
The company is a National Accredited Tourism Business. To be accredited evidence of documented planning and application of procedures for environmental sustainability must be shown as indicated below.
The company has conducted an assessment of negative impacts of operating tour and camping ventures in environmentally sensitive areas and has developed strategies based on the eight principles of the Eco Certification Program. Initiatives and processes include:
- Training in local ecology, geology, flora and fauna are key elements of the company’s Tour Guide training program;
- Locating permanent campsites in commercial areas at Yulara, Kings Canyon, Jabiru and Cooinda to minimise the impact of visitor intrusion; and
- Rubbish collected on tour for appropriate disposal at authorised locations (this includes recycling). In July 2008, we partnered with Tourism NT in an exciting pilot program “Outback Offsets” which aims for the operations of participating tour companies to be carbon neutral for the 2008/09 year.
5000 tonnes of carbon credits have been purchased from LMS Generation Pty Ltd (LMS), an Australian Government approved Greenhouse Friendly™ abatement provider. The LMS abatement project from which these carbon credits have been sourced, is the Shoal Bay Landfill Gas Generation project in Darwin, Northern Territory. This facility produces electricity from methane gas harvested from waste and is the first of its kind in the Northern Territory. The tour company is one of the few companies who complied with the requirements for this program.
More recently, the company has also been accepted to be part of a new initiative which it the Climate Action Business Australia. Climate Action Certification Program will provide the tourism industry and associated tourism service organisations with:
- an understanding of climate change concepts and terminology;
- awareness of credible offsetting activities that can be undertaken;
- clear and practical ways of reducing their carbon footprint – reducing carbon emissions through design, equipment selection and changes in operational practices;
- best practice examples relevant to the business sector and operating environment;
- approaches to adaptation that will assist both the individual enterprise and the collective industry and community within its area of operation. Visitors will also have a standardised star rating mechanism to judge the efforts being made by tourism operators to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint of their operations.
The tour company has conducted an assessment of negative impacts of operating tour and camping ventures in environmentally sensitive areas and has developed strategies partly based on the eight principles of the Eco Certification Program. They identify negative impacts as:
- Degradation of the natural environment through multiple visitor intrusion;
- Pollution of land and waterways through inappropriate rubbish disposal and excessive noise;
- Insensitivity toward Indigenous culture;
- Inefficient or inappropriate use of natural resources, including water. Specific strategies include Eco Certification Program principles:
- Focuses on personally experiencing nature in ways that lead to greater understanding and appreciation: ATA tour guides have comprehensive training to ensure passenger's expectations are met and exceeded.
- Integrates opportunities to understand nature in to each experience: Training in local ecology, geology, flora and fauna are key elements in the tour guide training program.
- Represent best practice for ecologically sustainable tourism: All Red Centre tour guides meet with park rangers from Uluru and Watarrka National Parks to ensure they are environmentally and culturally aware of their surroundings.
- Positively contributes to the ongoing conversation of natural areas: Our permanent campsites are located in commercial areas, to minimise any environmental disturbance. Campsites are strategically selected on the basis of toilet and shower facilities. Rubbish is collected on tour for appropriate disposal at authorised recycling locations, using 'the pack it in - pack it out' where disposal stations are unavailable.
- Provides constructive ongoing contributions to local communities: ATA accommodations community requests wherever possible and in 07/08 donated 28 days minibus and guide use for an Indigenous Road Trip. Is sensitive to, interprets and involves different cultures, particularly Indigenous culture: Tour guide training incorporates Indigenous culture including interaction in training with Aboriginal Elders at communities.
The cultural landscapes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park resonate with meaning. They contain creation stories and the associated knowledge of law, relationships, plants, and animals, all of which live in the shapes and features of the land. Places where significant events in the Anangu story occurred are held as sacred sites. Anangu have the responsibility and obligation to care for the land in a proper way. As such, tourists are not permitted access to certain significant or sacred sites. Even inadvertent access to these can be sacrilegious.
At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park some areas are fenced off and sometimes photography is restricted to ensure that visitors do not inadvertently contravene Tjukurpa restrictions.
Uluru tours, Northern Territory