Lady Elliot takes centre stage at G20 forum
THE global spotlight on the G20 will shine on Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort's managing director as he speaks about leading the way in the ecotourism industry.
Peter Gash will be a panellist at the G20 Sustainable Leaders Forum in Brisbane today.
The man who has been credited with single-handedly reducing the eco-resort's environmental footprint was pleasantly surprised to be given the opportunity.
Mr Gash will join representatives from leading international companies and destinations to discuss how the industry can manage the double-edged sword that comes with being one of the fastest growth sectors in the world.
He said it was important for all tourism operators to be financially and economically sustainable.
"It seems to me the more we give (to the environment), the more we receive," Mr Gash said.
"We are all a part of this planet."
In 2005 he took a 30-year lease on the island south-east of Gladstone and has been operating the 41 room eco-resort ever since.
There have been more than 300 solar panels constructed across the resort and the island's fuel burn has since been reduced by 90%.
But he is determined to reduce the fuel burn further.
But Mr Gash said he could not take credit for ridding plastic bottles from the resort.
He said staff convinced him to spend a few thousand dollars on introducing special re-usable bottles people could fill up with the island's desalinated water and take home.
"People living and working on the island are passionate," he said.
Mr Gash said the eco-resort operates on a "four E's" philosophy; that looking after the environment means being efficient, economically sustainable and able to educate effectively.
ABOUT THE G20
WHAT: The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members' international economic co-operation and decision-making.
WHO: Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. Each G20 president invites several guest countries each year. It is supported by international organisations.