Member Spotlight: Eagle Wing Tours

Based in Victoria, BC, Eagle Wing Tours is an award-winning and inclusive ecotourism and conservation company offering whale and wildlife watching tours. Eagle Wing is certified Platinum with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism. Read below to learn more about their sustainability journey:

Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?

Eagle Wing Tours is an award-winning, inclusive Victoria-based ecotourism and conservation company offering year-round whale and wildlife watching tours. Our mission is to protect marine wildlife and the ocean environment through direct support of conservation and research activities, to build ocean awareness through our award-winning education and outreach programs, and to promote environmental stewardship through industry-leading sustainability initiatives. Eagle Wing is a long-time member of 1% for the Planet, Canada’s first third-party verified 100% carbon neutral whale watching company, and is certified Platinum with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism.

Why is sustainability important to you/your business? 

There are four core pillars upon which Eagle Wing is built: Conservation, Sustainability, Research, and Education. Our top priority is to offer a superior-quality tour product and the highest standards of service and safety to our guests. At the same time, we use our extraordinary access to the Salish Sea and its wildlife to advocate for and directly support marine conservation and the revitalization of Indigenous culture. We strive to minimize our impact through climate action, erasing the carbon footprint of the company, and raising the bar through transparency, accountability, and third party accreditation.

Why did you join GreenStep Sustainable Tourism? 

We operate fuel-efficient, low underwater noise vessels. We use a green purchasing policy and practice the four Rs of waste management. We’ve publicly taken the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge. We support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. And we’re ready to embrace regenerative tourism, which encourages visitors to respect, restore and protect the unique marine environment and cultural heritage of the Salish Sea. Being certified Platinum with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism has helped us to further refine our business model and operations to ensure the best possible business practice in terms of sustainability and accountability.

What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travelers to know about?

We have an award-winning education and outreach program! The National Marine Educators Association presented Eagle Wing Tours with its 2022 Marine Education Award for Outstanding Organization, honouring “outstanding work and leadership by an organization or business in any aspect of marine education at the local, regional or national level.” This follows on the heels of a 2022 Partnership Award from the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association for our innovative “Exploring the Salish Sea” floating classroom program. The award recognizes groups and individuals who “have made a substantial difference in the lives of students in BC public schools.”

What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?

Eagle Wing achieves its many conservation objectives through a blend of guest experience, educational programming and community outreach. Launched in 2018, the “Exploring the Salish Sea” program combines classroom and experiential learning to ignite a passion for the ocean among local schoolchildren. It’s powered by Eagle Wing’s core belief that cultivating a sense of wonder and connection with the natural world in young people is vital to a more sustainable society. To date, more than 4,000 local schoolchildren have participated in the program. The target for 2022/23 is another 4,000, including expansion to other school districts. The long-term target is 10,000 students a year by 2030.

To learn more about Eagle Wing Tours – head over to their website at www.eaglewingtours.com