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."

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.

We're now an ECO Destination

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.

Seize this opportunity

There are currently 8 ECO Certified experiences on the Central Coast, plus several more 'ECO Applicants' on their sustainability journey – we’d love to see more! Help us celebrate this status using the assets available in our ECO Toolkit below.

We invite all Central Coast 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 certification with Ecotourism Australia via their website, including eligibility, benefits, the process and fees. As a first step we encourage you to enquire with their team to check which certification program is best for your business.

Not quite ready to undertake a full certification program yet? Learn more about Ecotourism Australia's Strive for Sustainability Scorecard, a new pathway program for any visitor economy business looking to start their sustainability journey.     

The Green Travel Guide
The Central Coast destination and our ECO Certified operators feature in the Green Travel Guide, a trusted resource for planning an eco-friendly holiday filled with sustainable experiences.

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
  • Love Central Coast ‘News’ editorial feature
  • 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 Council and/or Ecotourism Australia

Certification essentials

Be part of the ecotourism community by choosing to pursue one of two leading certification programs with Ecotourism Australia, recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Explore the Essentials guide brochures below to find out more about the ECO Certification program for business, and the latest Sustainable Tourism Certification program, for a wider range of businesses including hotels, attractions, tours, transport, restaurants, breweries, and others.

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

Contact us

For more information about the ECO Destination program, to share feedback, or learn how your business can become ECO Certified, contact our Tourism team via - 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

Tourism Industry Resources

eco destination certified logo for nature tourism
Ecotourism Australia | Media release
Australian destinations recognised for global tourism sustainability standards ahead of World Environment Day (5 June 2022)
Destination NSW logo
Destination NSW | Media release
It’s official. The Central Coast is now an ECO Destination.
The green travel guide logo
The Green Travel Guide
The Central Coast destination and our ECO Certified operators feature in the Green Travel Guide, a trusted resource for planning an eco-friendly holiday filled with sustainable experiences.
man gives crowd acknowledgement of country
GUIDE: Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country
Tourism Australia encourages the use/ observance of a ‘Welcome to Country’ or ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ to show awareness of and respect for the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the land. Find out how to do this respectfully.
	tourism resilience nsw first program image
NSW First Program - Tourism Resilience
Quick tips on how to protect your tourism business from the impacts of bushfires, floods and other natural disasters by being prepared with a thorough plan.
FREE Litter Reduction Toolkit for NSW tourism operators
Launched in 2022, Ground Swell is a 3-step litter reduction journey empowering tourism businesses of all types to reduce and reverse the litter impact visitors leave behind.
blue branded council logo and title of resource pack
Making Access and Inclusion Your Business
Resource Pack by Central Coast Council with simple strategies to improve access to your business such as investing in staff training to build a more inclusive culture, raising awareness across digital disciplines, and adopting accessible design.
teigan nash poses in marine discovery centre
Sydney Weekender
Eco-friendly Central Coast | Teigan Nash explores the newly ECO-Certified Central Coast with Central Coast Council, Darkinjung Cultural Tours, our Marine Discovery Centre, and Noonaweena accommodation.
two people heading to surf
Australian Traveller
Your guide to the ECO-certified Central Coast
couple on swing bridge in bushland
QANTAS Travel Insider
7 Nature Experiences to have on NSW’s Central Coast
aerial of scenic coastline with firetrail to headland
Hunter Hunter
Celebrating its title as an ECO-Destination, it's time you visited the Central Coast.
from above lagoon meets blue ocean
Sitchu Sydney
20 Things to do on the Central Coast: NSW's Newest Eco Destination
Sydney Weekender
Gabby uncovers Indigenous culture, stories and art along the Songlines of the NSW Central Coast.
immersive water experience with oyster shucking
Urban List
6 Nature-Filled And Eco-Friendly Ways To Explore The Central Coast
yoga on the beach at sunrise
Vacations & Travel
12 Central Coast eco experiences you have to try
Yahoo Lifestyle Australia
Yahoo Lifestyle Australia have breakfast with the alpacas at ECO Certified Iris Lodge Alpacas, Jilliby.
meerkat on log
Josie's Juice
Review and visit to Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary, Calga
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! Get involved with Project Ground Swell today.