The NSW Central Coast and Western Australia’s Margaret River region are Australia’s newest ECO Destinations after receiving certification with Ecotourism Australia.
Destinations across Australia are driving a national shift toward sustainable tourism, and the industry is committed to putting the needs of the local community and environment at the fore and meeting the increasing demand for sustainable travel options.
The ECO Destination Certification program uses the international Green Destinations framework, recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, to assess a destination across approximately 100 core criteria. Destinations are then audited onsite by a verified, independent auditor. Through this certification program, visitors are assured the region has a range of high-quality nature-based tourism products and a strong commitment to improving sustainable practices in the future.
Being immersed in an ECO Destination as a local or a guest means taking action to be a responsible traveller for a sustainable future, and to ultimately travel for good.
The Central Coast has a thriving range of ecotourism experiences, with the largest ECO cohort of nature-based businesses pursuing their own ECO Certification to do business for good. This includes six ECO-certified businesses and nine actively pursuing their accreditation. To achieve this globally respected green status, the Central Coast has partnered with Ecotourism Australia since 2020 in a two-year program funded by WWF-Australia.
Driven by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, and supported by the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, 26 businesses across the region are now ECO-certified. In addition to this, around 68 wineries across the Margaret River region are certified members of Sustainable Wine Growing Australia, with 12 per cent of vineyards certified organic or biodynamic.
Ecotourism Australia chief executive officer Elissa Keenan said it is a huge achievement for the Central Coast and Augusta Margaret River and was significant both regionally and for Australia’s reputation as an international leader in ecotourism.
“We are delighted to see these two beautiful destinations achieve this significant milestone, and we recognise the amount of work that the local councils, regional tourism organisations and community have undertaken to receive their certification,” she said.
“ECO Destination Certification is a whole-of-destination commitment, assuring travellers that these regions are on a journey of constant improvement in their sustainability practices, as well as providing high-quality nature-based experiences for visitors.”