The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2016-09-09T04:52:47Z RICHARD BRANSON KOALA CONSERVANCY AT MAKEPEACE ISLAND 2016-09-09T04:52:47Z richard-branson-koala-conservancy-at-makepeace-island Makepeace Island is throwing open its doors to host a ‘Save the Koala’ fundraising luncheon on 30th September 2016 as part of its critical effort to help save the Noosa region’s koalas from extinction.  Friday 30th September is recognised nationally as ‘Save the Koala Day’.  This fundraising initiative follows the recent establishment of the Richard Branson Koala Conservancy and a commitment by Makepeace Island owners, Sir Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey, to fund koala research. The 5-year grants program will focus on mitigating koala mortality, with an emphasis on koala health, as well as investigating areas within the Noosa region, for its suitability as long-term koala refugia.  One hundred percent of proceeds from the luncheon will be directed to this important work and will add to monies already committed by the owners. Makepeace Island will serve as a base for scientific koala research projects given its proximity to koala habitat along the Noosa River catchment. Koala experts Professor Peter Timms, PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), FASM – Professor of Microbiology, University of the Sunshine Coast and Dr Jon Hanger, BVSc BVBiol PhD MACVSc, Managing Director, Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd will lead the program. Richard Branson said, “Animal conservation is one of my greatest passions. I wholeheartedly believe that protecting endangered species is one of the most important things any of us can do.” Richard continued, “We felt compelled to act given the dire state of koalas in the region and with this in mind, we have offered my family’s Australian home, Makepeace Island, as a central site for koala research.” Brett Godfrey added, "We believe we all have a responsibility to help to protect the koala. More work is required to clearly understand why numbers have declined to crisis levels in the Noosa region.  By working with koala experts and other stakeholders over the longer term, we are committed to support reversing the downward trend.”  The Conservancy will establish an advisory board led by Dr. Hanger and Professor Timms. The board will be a collegial forum for encouraging a multi-disciplinary approach to local koala efforts and will work collaboratively with government, as well as scientific and community groups. Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said, “Like Sir Richard and Brett, the Queensland Government takes the protection of the State’s iconic and much loved koalas very seriously. The Sunshine Coast is an area where we’d really welcome a koala refuge. Not only are we offering our support, but we have been approached to make available the government’s scientific expertise and information regarding koalas, which we will gladly do.” ‘Save the Koala’ fundraising luncheon tickets are $250 each and bookings are available online at www.makepeaceisland.com.  Event patrons will experience an exclusive island tour, indulge in seafood stations and wines and be entertained by XFactor stars ‘Soulcutz’. Island co-owner Brett Godfrey, Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles and koala experts Professor Peter Timms and Dr Jon Hanger will address the luncheon. Ticket holders will receive a special invitation to return to the island for an update on the program. ABOUT MAKEPEACE ISLAND Makepeace Island is owned by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey. Nestled amidst the Australian wilderness near Noosa, Queensland, the 25-acre heart shaped island luxuriously accommodates up to 20 guests. Featuring stunning open plan entertaining areas, exquisite gardens, carved volcanic boulder bathtubs and waterfall entry foyers, a stay at Makepeace Island is a unique barefoot luxury experience completely tailored to your needs and desires. ‘Rivals’ Forge New Partnership For Australian Tourism 2015-08-04T01:11:06Z rivals-forge-new-partnership-for-australian-tourism Adventure tourism[1], including walking and hiking, is worth an estimated US$263 billion globally with growth of in excess of 25% annually since 2009.  Australia, however, does not feature highly on the world stage for Adventure travelers, ranking currently 15th in the industry’s travel destinations index.  Our closest neighbour, New Zealand consistently ranks in the Top 5 and is currently ranked 3rd. Geoff Dixon and Brett Godfrey on behalf of the Tasmanian Walking Company (TWC), announce today the formation of the Australian Walking Company (AWC) in a landmark partnership that through new investment, aims to redefine the current perception and raise awareness of Australia’s outstanding walking destinations and associated product offerings. Further, AWC are pleased to announce its first acquisition, the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk in Victoria. This exceptional product is one of the eight Great Walks of Australia and offers an exclusive 4 day, 3 night guided lodge experience from Castle Cove to the Twelve Apostles. Former owner, Dana Ronan, comments “We are delighted with the sale to AWC.  Adventure tourism is a growing sector and the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk will now realise its full potential under this new ownership”. AWC teams with the market leading Tasmanian Walking Company, tourism industry leaders Geoff Dixon, Brett Godfrey and Rob Sherrard, and Greenstone Partners investment banker, Scott Malcolm. Setting out to engage a new generation of inbound experience seekers and change the mindset of the more than 70,000 Australians who annually choose to walk overseas.  AWC will deliver environmentally sustainable guided walks with contemporary luxuries employing the company’s own lodges, guides and chefs, serving the best of Australian produce and beverages. Following the acquisition of the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk, the AWC consortium will together own 3 of the 8 recognised ‘Great Walks of Australia’  The Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk will be operated by Launceston headquartered TWC, which was purchased by Tasmanian tourism investors Brett Godfrey and Rob Sherrard in 2013. Offering unique experiences in eco-tourism, TWC owns a number of award winning walks including the unparalleled Cradle Mountain Huts Walk along the World Heritage Area, Overland Track; the Bay of Fires Lodge and Spa and the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk, all in Tasmania. Geoff Dixon commented, “Australia exhibits strong potential as a world class walking destination and having recently walked both Maria Island and the 12 Apostles, I am delighted to be involved in this burgeoning high yieldtourism sector. I am also very pleased to be teaming up with the 25 year industry leader, TWC, in a partnership that will bring to life our vision to develop new and sustainable high-end walksshowcasing Australia’s iconic and incomparable landscapes, produce and accommodation”. Brett Godfrey added, “TWC’s expanding portfolio of walks is becoming one of the great tourism experiential brands. Rob and I are excited to partner with Geoff and Scott in a consortium that shares a determination to raise the profile and quality of Australian guided walks which have long been ‘under-weight’ on the world’s stage”. Managing Director of Tourism Australia, John O’Sullivan said, “AWC’s shareholders have a history of leadership, innovation and success in the tourism sector. They are an exciting and welcome addition to a relatively untapped market and compliment Tourism Australia’s vision and focus of growing inbound high yield tourism”. While the acquisition of the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk represents AWC’s first guided walks investment, the partners have long enjoyed a presence together in the tourism industry most famously as spirited ‘archrivals’ in aviation. Geoff Dixon, former Qantas Chief Executive and Brett Godfrey, former founding Virgin Australia Chief Executive have put aside their 10-year competitive ‘rivalry’ opting for a sea change from arguably the world’s most dynamic industry. The partners found détente and a common purpose on the board of Tourism Australia. Following Geoff’s recent retirement as Chairman, they will utilise AWC to promote sustainable Australian lodged based walking experiences. The launch of AWC and acquisition of the 12 Apostles Lodge Walk are an important but first step in broader plans for growth in and marketing of the sector with the consortium now looking at and considering other investments in the guided walks market.   ABOUT THE TWELVE APOSTLES LODGE WALK The exclusive 4 day guided experience takes in the ‘wild’ side of the Great Ocean Walk from Castle Cove ending at the Twelve Apostles. With walking groups no larger than ten trekkers at a time, it offers an immersive and intimate experience along one of the great coastlines of the world. The ‘off the grid’ lodge accommodation features large king bedrooms with ensuites, heating, passive solar design, foot spas and a live in chef. The cuisine complements the trail adventure, showcasing local and regional ingredients accompanied by Victorian wines. A scenic helicopter flight recognizes the achievement of the experience.  ABOUT THE NEW OWNERS Geoff Dixon, who stepped down from his role as Chairman of Tourism Australia last month, has investments in the hospitality sector. He is Chairman of the Australian Pub Fund which owns and operates twelve hotels across Sydney and Brisbane, and operates three family owned hotels. Geoff remains involved in a number of ASX listed boards. Scott Malcolm is Chairman of the Sydney based corporate advisory firm, Greenstone Partners, which he founded in 2003.  Prior to Greenstone Partners, Scott was a Director in Credit Suisse's investment banking department in Sydney. The Tasmanian Walking Company owners Rob Sherrard and Brett Godfrey jointly purchased the company in 2013 from Gresham Private Equity.  Together they have invested in several other tourism ventures including Quamby Estate and Country Club, Entally Lodge and Vineyard, Lake House and Low Head all in Tasmania and Makepeace Island in Queensland, a joint venture with Sir Richard Branson. Brett sits on several public company boards involved primarily in tourism and aviation.   For Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk Enquiries: Visit www.twelveapostleslodgewalk.com.au or call 1300 767 416   [1]2013, Adventure Travel Trade Association “Adventure Tourism Market Study” & “2015 Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI)”