Environmental Focus

Imagine Cruises – An Eco-tourism Model

With assistance from the University of Newcastle, Frank Future and Yves Papin designed Imagine Cruises as a model for ecotourism in Port Stephens. After almost ten years the concept and vision of Imagine Cruises has not changed: “to combine environment and tourism in a natural and successful partnership”.

Committed to best practice business operation Imagine Cruises believes we must manage ourselves responsibly within our natural environment if future generations are to have the same experiences that we have.

As part of this commitment, Imagine Cruises initiated the Dolphin Research Education And Management (DREAM) research fund, which together with the NPWS and Macquarie University sponsored an impact assessment of wildlife tourism on Port Stephens’ Bottlenose dolphins.

The DREAM program was put in place by the marine biology department of the Macquarie University in Sydney Australia with the financial support of the Port Stephens Commercial Dolphin Watch Association (PSCDWA) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The four year studies were done to put in place a management plan for a safer future of bottlenose dolphins in the Nelson Bay Port Stephens area of the North Coast of NSW Australia.

Imagine Cruises – Active Environmentalists

In addition to skippering on Imagine Cruises various dolphin & whale watching tours, owner Frank and many other staff members, are actively involved in a number of other organisations that promote the protection and preservation of dolphins and whales at local – Port Stephens, national – Australia-wide and international levels. One of these organisations is the Marine Parks Association, set up in 2015 to further research & protect our Port Stephens Marine Park. Imagine has committed $1 from every Dolphin Watch & Marine Discovery Ticket sold to assist with the Association’s research on our resident Bottlenose Dolphins.

Whale & Dolphin Watch Australia (WADWA) – In response to initiatives to resume commercial whaling, Australia’s national commercial operators association, Whale and Dolphin Watch Australia Inc (WDWA) has initiated an alliance of international commercial whale watch operators that will send an observer to each years International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting (generally held in June in a different location each year). The new International Alliance of Commercial Whale Watchers support the Berlin Initiative and will work towards changing the agenda of the IWC from the fatal exploitation of whales to whale conservation and sustainable whale watching tourism.

EcoNetwork Port Stephens – A peak body of affiliate members formed to seek community-wide inclusion and long-term stability within a broad and diverse environmental constituency in the Port Stephens region. EcoNetwork’s vision projects an eco-oriented culture that addresses the total human condition for a holistic quality of life now and the transfer of intact natural systems to future generations.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – a global organization formed to engage communities, government leaders, and like-minded organizations around the world to achieve lasting solutions to pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges and solutions that benefit both animals and people.

International Whaling Commission (IWC) – set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946 to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. The main duty of the IWC is to review and revise as necessary the measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which govern the conduct of whaling throughout the world. These measures provide for the complete protection of certain species; designate specified areas as whale sanctuaries; set limits on the numbers and size of whales which may be taken; prescribe open and closed seasons and areas for whaling; and prohibit the capture of suckling calves and female whales accompanied by calves. The compilation of catch reports and other statistical and biological records is also required. In addition, the Commission encourages, co-ordinates and funds whale research, publishes the results of scientific research and promotes studies into related matters such as the humaneness of the killing operations.

Greenpeace – An independent organisation campaigning to ensure a just, peaceful, sustainable environment for future generations. Our mission and core values are based on independence, non-violence and bearing witness. Behind the scenes, we campaign on many levels. We use non-violent, direct actions to expose global environmental problems and force solutions. Our victories are a testament to the effectiveness of Greenpeace’s methods. Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action.

Native Animal Trust Fund (NATF) – A non-profit, registered Australian charity organisation which operates under license from the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. NATF is involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned native fauna within Australia.

International Alliance of Commercial Whalewatchers (IACW) – A network of commercial operators from around the world, gathering together for the purpose of promoting and insuring the sustainability of the whale watching industry. Alliance members advocate complete protection for all species of Cetaceans and commit to best practice methods of observation and active conservation of the species.

Read more about the protection of Dolphins & Whales…

Imagine Cruises – Active Ecotourism Leaders

To further public awareness of whales and dolphins, Frank and Yves and the whole team at Imagine Cruises are also involved in many tourism organisations that promote whale and dolphin watching, including:

Eco-tourism Australia (formerly Ecotourism Association of Australia) – A non-profit, member based association formed with the vision “to be leaders in assisting ecotourism and other committed tourism operations to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially and culturally responsible” Eco-tourism Australia’s Mission is about growing, consolidating and promoting ecotourism and other committed tourism operations to become more sustainable.

Outdoor Tourism Operators Association (OTOA) – A non-profit, member based association formed to provide a vehicle for exchanging information, improving the standard of outdoor tour operations and for developing policies relating to matters affecting the outdoor segment of the tourism industry in negotiations with a wide range of government and other agencies. The Outdoor Tour Operators Association seeks to work cooperatively promoting greater awareness and understanding of the sectors of the industry represented by its members. Membership in OTOA also affords us affiliation with the Tourism Council of Australia (TCA), Outdoor Recreation Council of Australia (ORCA), Standing Recreation Industry Training Advisory Body (SRITAB), Inbound Tour Operators Association (ITOA), Outdoor Recreation Industry Council (ORIC) and the Olympic Tourism Forum.

Port Stephens Tourism Limited (PSTL) – A membership based organisation of tourism related businesses in the Port Stephens area formed to promote Port Stephens on a local, regional North Coast NSW) Australian national and international basis as a desirable destination for visitors. Port Stephens Tourism Limited represents, leads and advocates for tourism in the Port Stephens area on the North Coast of NSW Australia. There were over 300 members of PSTL as of the end of December, 2004!

Newcastle Tourism – An organisation similar to PSTL (above) formed to represent, lead and advocate for tourism in the Greater Newcastle region North of Sydney on the North Coast of NSW Australia.

Hunter Tourism – An organisation similar to PSTL (above) formed to represent, lead and advocate for tourism in the Hunter Valley region of the North Coast of New South Wales Australia.

North Coast Tourism – An organisation similar to PSTL (above) formed to represent, lead and advocate for tourism in the North Coast region of NSW Australia.

Tourism NSW – A NSW State funded organisation similar to PSTL (above) formed to represent, lead and advocate for tourism in New South Wales Australia.

Australian Tourism Commission (ATC) – Tourism Australia is the Federal Government statutory authority responsible for international and Australian domestic tourism marketing as well as the delivery of research and forecasts for the tourism sector of Australia.

Port Stephens Commercial Dolphin Watch Association (PSCDWA) – A local affiliation of commercial dolphin watching businesses formed to protect the dolphins of Port Stephens and improve industry co-operation. A Code of Ethics has been developed to encourage ‘best practice’ for the sustainability of the industry.