Long before eco-tourism became a buzzword, P&O Australian Resorts (POAR) was successfully running resorts in environmentally sensitive areas. POAR has pioneered responsible and sustainable tourism practices that have become benchmarks for the operation of nature-based experiences across Australia.
“When Heron Island was purchased in 1980, the vision for the development of the property and for those which were being targeted for inclusion in what was soon to become known as the Australia’s Natural Treasures portfolio, was that the delicate eco-system was both protected and maintained,” explained Managing Director, Mark Campbell.
“One of the company’s key objectives was to enable appreciable numbers of domestic and international visitors to have direct access to some of the most pristine and spectacular wilderness areas in the world, whilst ensuring the ongoing protection of those same sensitive and precious environments.”
P&O Australian Resorts is now the largest owner-operator of nature-based holiday destinations in Australasia. It’s record for successfully combining tourism and care for the environment is unmatched, with POAR’s management policies and systems among the most environmentally sensitive in Australia.
A quote from an eminent research scientist highlighted POAR’s success in stating that Heron Island was “pristine and an example for the rest of the world to follow”.
The same vision which saw Heron Island become a part of the prestigious Australia’s Natural Treasures portfolio governs POAR’s selection and management of other properties.
POAR currently owns and operates seven resorts diverse in character, location and climate. Their link - and one of the key motivators in considering any addition to the Australia’s Natural Treasures portfolio - is that the property or site is within or adjacent to a National Park or World Heritage Listed area where the natural environment is protected and maintained and/or that the site holds significant cultural value.
“POAR’s goal is to offer guests unique opportunities to interact with precious and protected reef, rainforest and wilderness areas whilst maintaining the delicate balance of nature in these sensitive environments,” explained Mr Campbell.
“All properties within the Australia’s Natural Treasures portfolio comply with Safety and Environment regulations at the highest levels. Tertiary Standard Sewage Treatment plants - designed to have zero impact on the waters of the Great Barrier Reef - are installed on all properties, and solar power is used on a number of resorts.”
In conjunction with relevant authorities and organisations, each POAR property plays a proactive role in the development of environmental protection initiatives and fosters a culture of safety and environmental care amongst employees, contractors and guests.
“All POAR properties provide unique opportunities for guests to explore and experience the unique environment in which each resort is located. Through guest programs, including interpretative activities and guided education, a respect and understanding of the environment is actively cultivated. These activities are central to guest experiences and add to the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of these spectacular and often fragile eco-systems.”
P&O Australian Resorts maintains a number of joint programs with State Government’s National Parks and Wildlife Services and have initiated programs in conjunction with the nation’s annual Clean Up Australia Day campaign.