The Murihiku Sustainable Tourism Programme developed by Great South will be back next year, following the success of the inaugural 12-week programme.
The 11 businesses who participated in the programme were Fiordland Trips and Tramps, Fortrose Café, Shark Experience, Wild Fiordland, Wairaurahiri Jet, Wings and Water, Hollyford Valley Walks, Te Anau Helicopters, Southern Lakes Helicopters, Milford Sound Sea Kayaks and Te Anau Holiday Park.
The operators who celebrated the programme completion in Te Anau recently and many have already made changes in their businesses.
Great South Destination Development Manager Amie Young said it was pleasing to see learnings from the programme already in effect.
“Some operators have added sustainability information to their websites and are publishing their emissions
profile, some are working with their suppliers to reduce and avoid packaging and one has an EV charging station at their accommodation.”
Over the 12 weeks, participants learned how to measure their carbon emissions, how to write a sustainability and decarbonisation strategy, received support with marketing and sharing their sustainability story, and heard from various guest speakers.
Improving business sustainability was becoming increasingly important to meet Southland and New Zealand’s net zero goals, Ms Young said.
“Achieving this target will take a combined effort from all sectors and industries, including tourism.”
Sustainable practices were also becoming increasingly important for business viability, she said.
“Travellers are seeking sustainable choices and looking for operators who are doing their best for the environment.”
Fortrose Café owner Emily Butters said her business had almost halved its fortnightly rubbish disposal and now sent boxes that food was delivered in back to be re-used.
“When we did the carbon emission calculations, rubbish was the biggest emitter in our business,” Miss Butters said.
She was pleased to have taken part in the programme as she might not have had the confidence to make
changes without it.
“The more people get on board, the more it will become the norm,” she said.
The Murihiku Sustainable Tourism Programme is based on the international accepted principles of the Global
Sustainable Tourism Criteria and a similar pilot first trialled by Tourism Industry Aotearoa in Wellington.
It is part of a series of initiatives Great South is undertaking to support Southland to meet its net zero goals.
To express interest in taking part in a future course please contact email@example.com.