Presentation to DestinationQ – Local Government & Tourism Masterclass by Laureth Rumble Pumpkin Island

Hello everyone. Thank you for this opportunity to talk about our journey to sustainability as a business based in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. I am certainly very grateful to be able to share some of the lessons we have learnt over the past 10 years.

But first, let me start at the beginning to provide you some background. The Sojourn Retreat collection include the privacy and serenity of two exclusive island retreats Pumpkin Island on the Capricorn Coast, Southern Great Barrier Reef & Elysian Retreat in the Whitsundays. Pumpkin Island has been in operation since 2003 under the Sojourn brand and Elysian was acquired in February this year.

Both Pumpkin and Elysian have a strong emphasis on giving people the opportunity to disconnect from their busy lives, and reconnect with the natural environment. 

Our goal is to exceed guest expectations and provide an exceptional guest experience along the coast of the beautiful Great Barrier Reef with a firm commitment to environmental sustainability and best practice. Sojourn Retreats strive to promote meaningful responsible travel and improve the wellbeing of its visitors by being in close contact with pristine nature.

Our love of the ocean, nature and all things beautiful have inspired the style of the retreats and our combined passion for the environment and renewable energy have set the tone for the ethos and operational structures of all the properties.

We have always felt that it was of the utmost importance to take the necessary steps to not only protect and preserve our natural assets, but also to minimise the impact we may have on them. As a business that relies on visitors to one of these natural areas and therefore its success, it is even more critical for us to take the necessary action. If we choose not to, not only will be see negative impact on our bottomline in the short to medium term, but we will also become complicit in the degradation of nature in the longer term.

The staff and management of Sojourn Retreats are fully committed to operate as sustainable an operation as possible by reducing waste, saving and improving usage of water, power, fuel and emissions and thus minimising their environmental footprint.

Proudly we have attained Australias highest ecotourism certification and long term operational permits granted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in recognition of our commitment to environmental sustainability and best practice. Pumpkin Island was awarded the Advance Eco Tourism certification in November 2009 and were accessed and certified by EarthCheck in February 2011. Pumpkin Island was certified as a Climate Action Leader in March 2011 and also became the first beyond carbon neutral island in Australia.

The vision for Elysian is in line with the accomplishments of Pumpkin Island in terms of sustainability and immersion in nature, but with a more luxurious approach. Elysian will be marketed as an all inclusive resort with a day spa and an element of wellness. We are currently undergoing the same certification processes for Elysian Retreat and The Sojourn team will aim to establish Elysian as the obvious sustainable choice in luxury travel.

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