Eagle Wing Tours, based in Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island, is an ecotourism company offering whale-watching and wildlife tours. They also engage in citizen science efforts and educational programming in the Salish Sea, along Canada’s Pacific Coast. Recently, they became Sustainable Tourism’s first-ever Platinum-certified member, for their sustainability efforts. Read on to learn more about how they are protecting and preserving the beautiful landscape of coastal BC through their business!
Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?
Founded in 1997, Eagle Wing Tours was born from a passion for the marine environment and a desire to share our amazing backyard with visitors from all over the world. Co-owners Brett Soberg and Don Stewart nurtured the business into an award-winning ecotourism company offering a year-round complete Salish Sea experience. At the heart of the company is a dedication to conservation, inspiring and empowering our guests to protect the oceans and become better stewards of the marine environment. We are proud to support 1% for the Planet and a variety of conservation initiatives that directly benefit the Salish Sea and its inhabitants.
Why is sustainability important to you/your business?
Sustainability is important for the long-term health of the Salish Sea, as well as the community and the businesses within it. At Eagle Wing Tours, we strive to continually re-invent what sustainable ecotourism looks like. Joining forces with other like-minded partners has allowed us to exponentially increase our reach and influence. The Wild 4 Whales Foundation, a not-for-profit created by Eagle Wing, has opened other avenues to better be able to support science and conservation, including supporting post-graduate work in marine conservation by two of our employees via both the business and the Foundation.
Why did you join Sustainable Tourism?
Joining Sustainable Tourism has given us an opportunity to make new connections, and we have benefitted from the guidance and discourse provided by Sustainable Tourism. We appreciate their insight and recommendations and enjoy the opportunity to explore new ideas with a knowledgeable team.
What sustainability-related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travellers to know about?
Sustainability is about long-term viability—what better way to ensure the protection of the Salish Sea than by connecting with and inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards. In the fall of 2018, we started a long-awaited education outreach program in partnership with teachers and marine experts from the Greater Victoria School District and the Royal BC Museum. In the past two years, this program has reached over 2,300 children in over 100 classes. Next year, we hope to offer this program to even more classrooms in Greater Victoria! We believe in the power of responsible ecotourism to make a difference and create positive change.
What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?
As new, environmentally-friendly marine technologies are developed, we will be monitoring these advances to determine whether they can be applied to our fleet here in the Salish Sea. We are also looking for new opportunities to work with and showcase our many conservation partners. We are more than just another whale-watching company. We put our money where it matters most—science, conservation and education—and we use our platform to help inspire the next generation of ocean stewards, for the future health of the Salish Sea and the world’s oceans.
It is clear that Eagle Wing Tours doesn’t just talk the talk of sustainability: for them, it is a way of doing business and they really walk their own walk. We are thankful to have members like this who continue to do better for the environment, leaving it better then they found it. Thank you, Eagle Wing, for committing to sound science, conservation, and education – and for inspiring a whole new generation of ocean stewards!