Responsible tourism and particularly environmental issues are only one aspect of the overall tourism spectrum, which also includes sustainability, accountability, and general excellence as core aspects for ethical business conduct. The directors of Nature Guides Otago Ltd, Hildegard and Ralf Lübcke, have committed themselves to practicing these values based on personal ethics.
Nature Guides Otago’s principles of ethical business conduct are:
• Compliance with all legal requirements from the very start of operations, e.g. licenses, concessions, permits, and resource consent
• Truthful advertising
• Accountability in financial as well as operational matters
• Fairness and respect in dealing with customers, staff, and other businesses
• Setting standards for and in consultation with our staff
• Environmental standards as outlined below
A deep respect for this country, its people, culture and environment have been the basis of our business approach which has been reflected in community involvement from its beginnings in 1991. The philosophy that guided us was to provide visitors to this country with a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience that will enhance their social, cultural, and environmental viewpoint.
Our commitment to New Zealand’s nature / environment is reflected in membership of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Consultative Group. The survival of the Yellow-eyed Penguin on Otago Peninsula close to Dunedin provides a major challenge and needs to be managed through active contributions by all parties involved, including the concerned public. In co-operation with the Department of Conservation (DOC), Nature Guides Otago is supporting a volunteer warden program for Sandfly Bay which was established in 2007. This closely monitored program provides guidance and education for the public and independent travelers with the aim to reduce stress for the Yellow-Eyed Penguins and to enhance the visitors’ nature experience.
On our tours we keep records of wildlife numbers and behaviors, and also any other observations of concern or interest, which is shared with DOC and scientific staff at the University of Otago.
The single most important factor for a sustainable future is the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere (www.realclimate.org) - and the two most efficient ways to do this are
1) Reduction of fossil fuel consumption i.e. BURN (DRIVE) LESS, and
2) Implementation of carbon fixing methods i.e. PLANT TRESS
Nature Guides Otago is
1) Reducing the fuel consumption on the local day-tour by 15 – 20 % by adapting the itinerary to less mileage driven, and
2) Planting of original native vegetation on a private property on Otago Peninsula has started as a long-term project, providing an opportunity for our guests to get involved.
Waste reduction is addressed according to the motto ‘reduce – reuse – recycle’, which was already part of everyday life back in Germany before immigrating to New Zealand in 1985.
Hildegard & Ralf Lübcke
Nature Guides Otago Ltd