Ecotourism opportunities

two kayakers explore a national park river

What is Ecotourism?

Bridging nature tourism and sustainable tourism, the definition of ‘ecotourism’ adopted by Ecotourism Australia is: 

"Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation."

ecotourists embracing Aboriginal smoking ceremony in bushland
aerial view of coastline with deep blue hues

What is an ECO Destination?

A certified ECO Destination has actively demonstrated its strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high-quality nature-based tourism experiences to tourists and locals within the region. An ECO Destination is one committed to following international guidance from the Green Destinations Standards, successfully fulfilling at least 73 independently assessed criteria to achieve this industry respected status.

Why pursue ECO Destination certification?

Ecotourism has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry. More travellers are demanding authentic, unique, environmentally sustainable experiences. This is why Destination Central Coast started the ECO Destination accreditation process back in 2020. From May 2022 we are proud to announce the Central Coast is a certified ECO Destination! This was achieved through an Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia funded partnership. We can already see the benefits to industry and the wider community, with visitors staying longer and spending more. 

Ecotourism is also identified as a key strategic priority for the Central Coast. It's a focus of both the Central Coast Destination Management Plan (2022-2025) and the Tourism Opportunity Plan (2019-24), further supported by the region's overarching status as one of Australia's first few ECO Destinations.

Achieving ECO Destination certification in 2022 recognises the Central Coast as a world-class destination for sustainable, nature-based tourism. It highlights the Coast's commitment to quality and sustainable practices, which many of our business community already share at the core of their operations. It gives conscious travellers a clear snapshot of the best eco-friendly experiences, attractions, and accommodation the Central Coast has to offer!

Benefits of ecotourism

Whether it's our destination certification or your business pursuing accreditation, the benefits are experienced by the entire visitor economy and community.

  • Build the Central Coast's profile as a region rich in unique, authentic ecotourism experiences
  • Attract eco-conscious travellers who stay longer and spend more than average visitors
  • Develop our signature ecotourism products
  • Grow traveller interest in our region's local community, nature and culture
  • Encourage more eco-conscious, sustainably-minded operators
  • Provide sustainable local employment and training opportunities
  • Activate ECO accreditation framework as a business development tool
  • Create an environment where the Ecotourism Industry thrives
  • Join a global network of like-minded sustainable tourism organisations
  • Share best practice among our ECO operators through networking and mentoring
  • Destination management practices align with international best practice sustainability standards.

 

Want to get involved?

There are currently six ECO certified operators on the Central Coast and nine embarking on their Ecotourism Certification journey – we’d love to see more!

We invite all Central Coast nature-based tourism businesses to learn more about ECO certification and join our region on this journey. You’ll become part of a passionate group of like-minded local tourism operators and receive marketing and PR opportunities through Destination Central Coast. You will also have the opportunity to access business support from Ecotourism Australia.

You can find more information on Ecotourism Australia Certification via their website, including eligibility, benefits, the process and fees. As a first step we encourage you to check your business eligibility simply by taking the Quick ECO Scan below.

Marketing support

Central Coast businesses who achieve ECO Certification all join our wider ECO Destination journey and benefit from:

  • Tailored Love Central Coast Business Listing with ECO accreditation badge
  • Profile on our destination Ecotourism Hub
  • Social media features in ecotourism campaigns to 60k+ audience
  • Feature in The Green Travel Guide Central Coast profile
  • Media opportunities on eco and sustainable travel themes
  • Pitch for Ecotourism Australia socials and monthly newsletter to 20k+ audience
  • Referral letters for award nominations from Ecotourism Australia

Sustainability training

Both Destination NSW and State Government directly support and encourage you to make your business more sustainable. Try their Business Resources or Sustainability Advantage NSW training today.

Ecotourism Australia and ATEC have also teamed up to present an industry course on 'How to make sustainability your business', a two-part sustainability training program available on-demand. The training modules include Environmental Sustainability and Economic and Socio-Cultural Sustainability, along with providing you with the applicable tools and resources required for business planning.

The training is free of charge to ATEC and Ecotourism Australia members, or a small fee of $50 (+GST) for non-members.

Environmental impact

Environmental management not only benefits the environment, it can also be brilliant for business. Whether you're a small business or large enterprise, there are ways to manage your impact and benefit from cost savings, awards, boost in your business reputation, resource recovery and more.

Easily find support and grants in this space with the government resources available at Business.gov.au

Contact us

For more information about the ECO Destination program, to share feedback, or learn how your business can become ECO Certified, contact Emma Perham, Industry Services, via - tourism@centralcoast.nsw.gov.auwith the subject 'ECO opportunities'.

If your business has a great sustainability story to share - we'd love to hear it! Send your sustainability story pitch through to us with a subject line 'ECO story'.

We rely on our operators, guests and community for genuine feedback and support as we uphold our ECO Destination certification to benefit the entire region. Feel free to share your thoughts with our team directly so we can achieve our goal.

Ecotourism Australia Terms & Conditions of Certification

NSW Tourism Businesses take the lead in litter reduction with First Wave
Take 3 for the Sea launched the First Wave tourism litter initiative in 2021 and more than 80 NSW businesses took part, including Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures! Look out for ways to get involved with Project Ground Swell launching March – Nov 2022.