Ecotourism Australia has become one of 10 organisations worldwide that has been recognised by the United Nations sponsored Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
This means that Ecotourism Australia’s Ecotourism and Advanced Ecotourism Certification has been formally recognised along with the Rainforest Alliance’s Standard for Tourism Operators and eight other certification programs around the globe.
“We are thrilled to have this global recognition for the Australian ecotourism industry”, said Kym Cheatham, chief executive of Ecotourism Australia. “While Ecotourism Australia’s environmental certification was a world first 16 years ago, since then many other programs have been developed.
“This recognition shows that Australian ecotourism continues to lead the world in environmental best practice.” Ms Cheatham said. “This is fantastic acknowledgment for the over 900 tourism experiences in Australia that have achieved Ecotourism or Advanced Ecotourism certification.”
Ecotourism and Advanced Ecotourism Certification are now considered equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, which are the worldwide minimum requirements for tourism businesses of all size to approach sustainability. This is the first step in the three stage GSTC recognition process. Stage 2 will evaluate certification processes to ensure they are transparent, impartial and conducted by people with technical competence. The third and final stage will be full accreditation, and will begin implementation in December of 2014.
Ecotourism Australia aims to grow and promote ecotourism and to assist tourism operators to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially and culturally responsible.
Both ECO and ROC programs have been recognised by the Australian Government under the National Tourism Accreditation Framework of meeting the standards to carry the TQUAL trademark indicating tourism quality.