By Jody Hammond
Woohoo! Here at Emu Trekkers we are both proud and humbled to be awarded the gold prize for adventure tourism at this year’s NSW Tourism Awards, announced last week.
Acknowledging the great work of our volunteers, the NSW Business Chamber recognised our passion, skills and the work we do to raise money for children’s charities. While we were announced as winners of adventure tourism, there was also talk of how we are at the forefront of what may become known as social tourism.
There are more than 50 volunteers of all ages in our team. In their ‘other lives’, they are doctors, designers, marketers, lawyers, scientists, engineers and retirees, among other things.
Behind the scenes, we have volunteers doing the marketing and PR, business development, bookings, volunteer co-ordination, walk provisioning and website design and management. At the front end, our volunteers are leading walks from the Spit to Manly in Sydney, Blue Mountains (overnight and day walks) and the Royal National Park overnight. In the two years since we launched, we have gone from offering one walk to five different overnight treks and walks. As the judges of the tourism awards noted, a “wonderful tourism product” with a “high ethic” and “charitable foundations”.
We combine our expertise to run a not-for-profit business that puts smiles on so many faces – from our participants to the beneficiaries of our donations to ourselves. As our volunteer Tad put it: “I always enjoy hearing the stories and perceptions of people that come from all over the world. In return, I share my knowledge about the bush, history and life in Australia. The train ride back is quiet as we all rest our tired legs and take in the sense of accomplishment. I'm super proud of the entire Emu Trekker organisation for being awarded Best Adventure Tourism by the NSW Tourism Board.”