Carmen Ellis is paving the way in eco-tourism one whale encounter at a time

Carmen Ellis is paving the way in eco-tourism one whale encounter at a time

Majestic Whale Encounters
Tourism’s heavy impact on the natural environment is undeniable. That’s why Majestic Whale Encounters founder Carmen Ellis is striving to do things differently.

Majestic Whale Encounters is a an eco-tourism company that provides whale encounters in Tonga, Tahiti and Norway. The tours are structured to leave minimal environmental footprint while still giving guests the experience of a lifetime. Entirely paperless, with energy efficient equipment and fittings, the company works to ensure responsible whale watching is prioritised.

Ellis’ love of the ocean and it’s inhabitants stems from her young years spent on the beach in south Sydney. Now a mother of three children, Ellis’ continued, ever-present passion for the ocean made the decision to launch a business based on ecological conservation easy.

“My genuine love and respect of the ocean and its marine life meant that a fundamental requirement of my tour company was to mirror these values,” she shared with Women’s Agenda recently.

Below, Ellis tells Women’s Agenda what an average day looks like for her and her plans for the future.

What is Majestic Whale Encounters and why did you decide to establish the business?

Majestic Whale Encounters is a family owned and operated eco-tourism company providing whale encounters in Tonga, Tahiti and Norway. There’s a bit of history to why I established the business, as I have always had a passion for animals and their environments. After a whale swimming experience in 2008 in Tonga, which had been a lifelong dream, I immediately made up my mind that whale interactions was to be my journey from that point. I wanted to not only be able to provide people with the same incredible experience that I was lucky enough to have had, but to also teach individuals the importance of preserving the environment that these incredible creatures call home.

Have you always been interested in working with and protecting marine animals?

I have always loved working with animals.  After I finished school I worked at a small wildlife park, which eventually led to me working at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. I loved my work, but growing up on the beautiful beaches of south Sydney, my love for the ocean and the large mammals that inhabited it always remained my passion. My interest and drive to protect these animals inevitably paved my career path.

What sparked your interest in eco-tourism?

My entire career has been focused on animals and their welfare, so being passionate about protecting their habitats went hand in hand with that.  When the time came to launch Majestic Whale Encounters, it was imperative to ensure the company had a focus on ecological conservation.

Seeing first hand the impact that humans have had on our oceans is equally as heartbreaking as it is confronting.

My genuine love and respect of the ocean and its marine life meant that a fundamental requirement of my tour company was to mirror these values. The impact tourism has on our globe each year is undeniable, so actively being able to contribute to the conservation while educating guests on the importance of doing so only furthered my interest.

What strategies are in place to ensure your tours leave a minimal environmental footprint?

Our tours are structured to leave minimal footprint on the destinations we visit. We run the entire business in the most environmentally friendly way possible, from being predominately paperless to using energy efficient equipment and fittings.

At Majestic Whale Encounters we pride ourselves on abiding by rules and regulations that ensure we are actively contributing to the care and conservation of the environments that we visit…

  • We are active members of Whale Watch International and always ensure that responsible whale watching is at the forefront of what we do.
  • Each guest on tour receives from us a re-usable eco bottles and sustainable bamboo cutlery and straw travel sets.
  • Recently we introduced ‘Nurture Nature Fridays’ to our socials, where each week we choose a topic to open up a dialogue about how we can enjoy and protect our beautiful environment
What does an average day look like for you, balancing priorities on both the work and home front?

Running a business whilst being a wife and a mother is not for the faint hearted! A lot of my day is spent taking the guesswork out of travelling for our guests. Majestic Whale Encounters offers a personalised service, which includes immediate communication, all the logistics of each tour (including transfers, meals, accommodation, activities and also pre and post tour bookings) and just the usual day to day tasks of running a business.

Starting my day early means I am able to attend to my children and ensure their days are as normal as possible. I am very blessed to have a team around me that I can call family, and everything I do is a team effort! Being very organised and having the motivation to work hard at a job I love makes it all the more easy!

 

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