Noosa Tourism’s Steve McPharlin makes the case for greater sustainability in the industry at the Sunshine Coast Daily’s Future Tourism Forum at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Noosa Tourism’s Steve McPharlin makes the case for greater sustainability in the industry at the Sunshine Coast Daily’s Future Tourism Forum at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Sustainability is more than ditching plastic straws

OUTGOING Tourism Noosa chief executive officer Steve McPharlin says the iconic tourist town faces challenges in building sustainable practices to match its brand.

Mr McPharlin said more had to be done than switching from plastic straws to cardboard.

Speaking at the S unshine Coast Daily’s Future Tourism Forum in front of a packed Twin Waters Resort Convention Centre, he said only 3 per cent of Noosa businesses and 30 per cent of homes used solar energy.

Tourism Noosa has developed a list of 98 priorities for future action all focused on delivering on the industry’s brand promise to guests.

Sustainability was high on the list with 73 per cent of travellers wanting destinations with environmental credentials.

Mr McPharlin said Tourism Noosa was focused on the removal of single-use bathroom amenities which would stop 2.5 million items going to landfill each year.

He said reusable, refillable amenities made sense.

Mr McPharlin said Noosa had a constrained inventory of accommodation, 82 per cent of which was expensive and of a high standard.

The tourism Mecca enjoyed a 75 per cent average occupancy across the year but its biggest risk was a perceived loss of value if it didn’t deliver on its brand promise.

“The tourism industry had to be better environmental custodians,” he said.