Yarra Ranges Tourism
Sustainable & Regenerative Tourism Workshop & Local Impact Learning Tour
In September 2023, we spent time in Wurundjeri Country in the stunning Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges in partnership with Yarra Ranges Tourism, the peak body for tourism in the region, to run a live workshop and positive impact learning tour for their tourism industry partners.
A wide range of tourism businesses and organisations from across the region joined the full-day program which combined a practical workshop, with networking, council Q&A’s, and a learning tour where attendees could be inspired by positive impact projects happening in action in their region.
The Why, What & How of Building a Sustainable & Regenerative Tourism Business
The carefully curated workshop was designed to cut through the theory of sustainable and regenerative tourism by providing practical tips & tools backed up by evidence-based case studies for businesses to implement that all lead to tourism for a better future.
We worked closely with Yarra Ranges Tourism to refine the workshop and ensure key areas were addressed and expectations were exceeded.
Throughout the workshop each business was able to work on their own business positive impact plan by setting short, medium and long-term goals, giving tangible takeaways which could be applied immediately after the workshop and into the future.
- Values & Purpose
- Sustainable & Regenerative Tourism Principles
- Practical Implementation Ideas
Key Outcomes for Tourism Business Owners
- Understand what their business purpose is, and how that aligns with Guest's motivations and behaviours
- Understand what sustainability and regenerative means, and why it makes good business sense
- Confidently start thinking about and mapping their sustainability and regenerative journey, with rock solid, practical steps to get started with both short and longer term actions.
- Understand sustainability is an ongoing journey, not a destination (or a tick box exercise!)
- Support their application/rating improvement of their chosen sustainability accreditations (eg. Ecotourism Australia Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard, BCorp etc)
- Have a network of likeminded businesses who are on the same journey, so they have the local support to continue learning together
Local Impact Learning Tour
After the morning workshop and a networking lunch, we facilitated an interactive half-day learning tour for the businesses to become fully immersed in some of the positive impact initiatives that were happening in the region.
Learning Tours are a fantastic way for the industry to go behind the scenes of businesses who are leading the way to see positive impact in action.
To begin with, representatives from two councils: Yarra Ranges Council and Nillumbik Shire presented on the sustainability initiatives that have been implemented or are in planning for the region including community grants, EV infrastructure, local food networks, tree strategy, urban design guidelines, integrated water management, resilient land management with traditional owners, and practical support programs.
The afternoon continued with a hosted ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Healesville Sanctuary with the Senior Manager For Environmental Sustainability and Events and tourism Coordinator. Participants were able to see in person how Zoos Victoria became the world's first carbon-neutral zoo and the solutions they have found to reduce waste, increase conservation and environmental education, and other processes in place such as compliance for suppliers and partners they work with.
The final stop of the Local Impact Learning Tour was a visit to Four Pillars Gin Distillery which demonstrated some of their innovative ways to reduce waste, minimise natural resources, and repurpose botanicals to make other products, and collaborate with many local suppliers.
The Local Impact Learning tour helped inspire ideas for each business, as well as generate collaborations and conversations for positive impact action both within individual businesses and the wider Yarra Ranges region.
Over 15 representatives from tourism businesses and organisations across the Yarra Ranges attended the live workshop in Healesville.
At the start and end of the workshop participants were asked “How confident do you feel in your ability to implement regenerative tourism practices in your business”
At start of the workshop survey:
- 40% of the attendees felt fairly or completely confident.
- 20% felt slightly confident.
By the end of the workshop, we asked the same question:
- 93% felt completely confident or fairly confident.
- 100% of attendees now felt completely confident, fairly or somewhat confident.
This outcome demonstrated that the content delivered specific, practical skills that enabled confidence within the learning cohort to implement their learnings into their businesses.
This was further reflected in the robust short and long-term goals participants set from their learning during the session.