As you know, Australia is suffering from catastrophic wildfires. In addition to the human toll, millions of wildlife have died. But you can still visit Australia safely, in fact you can even make a positive impact while you are there. And Australia needs you more than ever! Why? Looking at just the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection as a small sample set… 19 lodges in 17 diverse regions across Australia – a continent the size of the USA, with just 25 million people. Many of the lodges are leaders in their own right in sustainability in all its forms, a mandatory for businesses in today’s world. But these lodges between them partner with well over 1,600 tourism-based businesses supplying products and services that are clearly visible to their guests, that are part of the appeal, the delivery of real, memorable, Australian experiences. These are our expert guides, our artists, gin distillers, winemakers, organic and specialist food producers, our craftspeople… the people of our places, our storytellers. They are essential to the rich fabric of our luxury lodge travel experiences. This doesn’t include the businesses and services that are not visible to guests – the tradies, the mechanics, the behind the scenes local businesses and suppliers. The vast majority of all these businesses are small to medium and family owned enterprises. They contribute enormously to the sustainability of the region they are based in and beyond.Recommended eco-luxury accommodation: Oceanview Eco-Villas Fund a Scholarship for a Promising Aboriginal Art Student Near Uluru, you can fund a scholarship for a promising Aboriginal arts student, to give him/her a better chance at being able to decide their own sustainable future, and in return, meet with an established Aboriginal artist from whom you can commission your own unique work of art. Recommended eco-luxury accommodation: Longitude 131 Support indirectly by visiting Tasmania and Queensland The fabulous Saffire Lodge in Tasmania is donating $500 from its next 100 bookings to restore habitat on Kangaroo Island, equating to $50,000 As an island community that also thrives on natural wilderness, biodiversity and tourism, the funds will be channelled directly to Nature Foundation SA’s new fundraising appeal, the Wildlife Recovery Fund, which focusses on habitat recovery in Kangaroo Island’s national parks and other fire-affected areas. The work carried out from this fund will be critical in the rehabilitation and survival of the island’s unique wildlife such as the endangered glossy black cockatoo, the disease-free koala population, and the critically endangered Kangaroo Island dunnarts, to name a few. This will in turn support the vitality of Kangaroo Island’s tourism industry and ensure that future generations are able to experience native island fauna in the wild. Saffire Freycinet holds conservation and protection of biodiversity close to its heart, having worked for the last six years in close conjunction with Wildcare Tasmania, DPIPWE, the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, and Menzies Research Institute. Spicers Peak Lodges in Queensland were created to help travellers experience the Australian bush for themselves. Recent fire events and the ongoing drought will make this season one of the toughest on record. Rural Aid will play a significant role in supporting people in rural and remote areas while they get back on their feet. In November and December 2019, Spicers Retreats raised over $45,000. Spicers Retreats will continue its fundraising efforts for Rural Aid in February. For bookings made up until 29th February 2020, they’ll be donating 10% of the booking value to Rural Aid. Their aim is to raise an additional $20,000. In conclusion Do plan to visit Australia. It is times like this when the Australian character shines through and you will receive the warmest of welcomes, deepened by the shared experience of the land – a land that we have had a stark reminder is both fragile and resilient – all the more precious to us all. Australia needs you… Christopher Hill is Founder and CEO at Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specialising in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.
- Economically: by generating income that is spent and paid and circulates within the community
- Culturally: by sharing the local expertise, craft, produce and character of the place
- Community: via employment, sense of purpose and pride; and
- Environmentally: on too many levels to deal with here.
- Helping with animal counting (Wombats, Kangaroos, Wallabies and Wallaroos)
- Planting native trees
- Weeding tree areas, irrigating and testing water quality for the animals to safely drink
- Regenerating and rebuilding eroded areas along river beds
- Helping with university research teams