North Star Holiday Resort at Hastings Point has once again proven its dedication to sustainable business practices, successfully passing Ecotourism Australia’s internationally recognised audit program held in March 2021.
Audits form part of Ecotourism Australia’s robust compliance program, ensuring that certified tourism business uphold the high standards set by the internationally accredited ECO Certification program. The audits are conducted by highly trained and experienced independent auditors, all of whom have an extensive professional background in tourism, sustainability and/or environmental management.
Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman says that the process of independent auditing, along with business’ annual desktop reviews, are a key differentiator for genuine certification programs in an industry that is increasingly jumping on the ‘sustainability bandwagon’:
“Having an auditor who is highly trained, experienced and – most of all – independent of the organisation that’s certified your business, is essential in ensuring transparency and the authenticity of a business’ claims to sustainability. The ECO Certification program is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and independent audits are vital to us maintaining our best practice standard.”
Auditor Linda Cash was particularly impressed with North Star’s new Marine Discovery Centre, saying it was an outstanding example of education and interpretation supporting an ecotourism product that benefits guests, the local community and the broader tourism community.
“The resources and information about the local area is state of the art, including information on the impacts of climate change,” said Ms Cash
“The team at North Star are to be congratulated for their efforts in sustainability and the continuous improvement program they have in place to ensure any developments take the environmental impacts of their product into consideration. They are also implementing improvements on existing products to reduce their carbon footprint and have implemented measuring and calculating emissions to determine their environmental impact and committed substantial investment to reduce waste and landfill.”
“The business’ commitment to customer satisfaction is exemplary (evidenced by their online ReviewPro score of 92.2%) as is their commitment to their management and staff with long term satisfaction and retention. This applies equally to their continued support of the onsite community lifestyle village,” said Ms Cash.
With approximately 2,700 holiday parks across Australia, North Star is one of just eight nationally and two in New South Wales to achieve the globally recognised Eco-Tourism Australia certification. Their strong, long-term commitment to sustainability has seen the implementation of more than 50 environmental and sustainable initiatives, including re-establishing native habitats for Eastern Water Dragons and Bush Stone-Curlews.
Their residential community benefit from fresh produce grown in onsite community gardens, fertilized by the onsite compost heap. Ripples Cafe produce is sourced from the local area to support local farmers. North Star offers a healthy, smoke-free environment at the park, provides discounts on coffee served in reusable cups and continually replants gardens with drought-tolerant native plants.