Emirates adds more effort towards conservation tourism

Friday, June 20, 2008, 18:52 by Aviation Correspondent

The Australian luxury conservation resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa owned by Emirates Hotels and Resorts, which spreads across 4000 acres, has reached its first milestone with the completion of the first of 40 villas, and the planting of the first 1,000 native trees on site.According to Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline “the Wolgan Valley project will be one of the world’s strongest combinations of high quality, luxury tourism with outstanding conservation values, and a highly sensitive design approach to environmental impact.”

The resort’s major tree planting programme coincides also with the completion of the phase one removal of invasive, non-indigenous flora. Replacing noxious plants and weeds with indigenous plants will stablise sensitive local river banks and erosion areas, and bolster the natural re-seeding of valuable plants that form a critical source of food, shelter and breeding locations for the wildlife on the reserve.

The project involves a comprehensive regeneration and conservation programme which will include, over time, the development of a feral-proof fence, the planting of over 10,000 native trees and the reintroduction of the native spotted-quoll, amongst other endangered and locally extinct native Australian animals.

Solar panels and rainfall water-capture tanks are also being installed this week as part of the environmental focus of the project. The resort will ultimately have over 100 solar panels that will meet over 75 per cent of all its hot water needs, significantly reducing the resort’s energy consumption, and therefore its resources footprint.

“The project is making great progress, and there is little doubt that this resort will follow in the footsteps of Emirates’ other luxury conservation resort, the Dubai-based Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. These resorts are some of the world’s leaders in sustainable development, conservation and responsible, luxury travel,” Clark said.

Emirates commenced its conservation-based tourism approach 12 years ago with the creation of the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa that forms part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). The Reserve makes up 4.7 per cent of Dubai’s total land area, with wildlife and habitat research programmes actively supported by Emirates, having provided almost AED 10 million to the DDCR over the past five years.

Due to open in late 2009, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will offer guests unparalleled luxury, as well as experiences of Australia’s unique wilderness and wildlife, its aboriginal traditions and its heritage. Set within the Australian Great Dividing Range, and surrounded by three National Parks which make up one of the planet’s largest proclaimed World Heritage Areas, this secluded resort will occupy just 2 per cent of the 4,000 acres reserve; feature 40 free-standing villas and a world-class spa facility; and partner the best of locally-sourced food and wines.

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