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Accommodation Australia and Ecotourism Australia join forces for sustainable tourism

It's a win-win for everyone: The industry-first partnership that aims to improve AA members' sustainability practices and credentials

Accommodation Australia (AA) and Ecotourism Australia have joined forces for the first time to forge a clear pathway toward sustainable tourism for the entire accommodation sector.

The nation’s peak accommodation body will encourage its thousands of member hotels, motels and caravan parks to begin their sustainability journey with the pre-certification benchmarking tool – the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard.

Members can then achieve one of Ecotourism Australia’s global best practice certification standards – ECO Certification or the Sustainable Tourism Certification. Accommodation Australia President Leanne Harwood said the partnership was a top priority for the newly formed AA board.

Ms Harwood said: “There’s no doubt sustainability is one of the most critical issues for our guests, our members and the wider community.

“Guests want to see their favourite hotels do the right thing and implement eco-friendly and sustainable practices and our members are invested in doing what is right for the community in the long-term.

“AA’s partnership with Ecotourism Australia is an important way to promote the importance of genuine and measurable sustainability to our members.”

In recent years, consumer demand for sustainable accommodation has risen significantly. Global travel giant Booking.com’s 2023 Sustainable Travel Report found 65 percent of travellers feel better about staying in accommodation if they know it has a sustainable certification or label.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Elissa Keenan said: “Sustainability is no longer recognised as a unique selling point, but a minimum standard expected of accommodation.

“It is more important now than ever to ensure our industry meets guests’ sustainability expectations in an authentic way.

“We are pleased to be working with Accommodation Australia to bring sustainability to the forefront and provide a pathway to sustainable tourism for one of Australia’s largest tourism industry sectors through the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard and Ecotourism Australia’s Certification programs.

“More than 120 accommodation providers have achieved global best practice sustainability standards through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification or Sustainable Tourism Certification programs to date. We look forward to supporting more accommodation providers on their sustainability journey.”

Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said AA’s hotels have the potential to be sustainability leaders. “This partnership will be vital for our members to improve their sustainability practices and credentials – it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” Mr Johnson said.

The Sustainable Tourism pathway program supports the tourism industry to meet international best practice sustainability standards across the four pillars of sustainability: sustainable management, environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural. It starts with the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard, a pre-certification benchmarking
assessment, before progressing to ECO Certification (for nature-based tourism businesses) and Sustainable

Tourism Certification (for non-nature-based tourism businesses). The certification standard used by ECO Certification and Sustainable Tourism Certification is recognised by the Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Ecotourism Australia is one of only two global sustainable tourism certification standard providers in Australia.

Accommodation Australia is a leading industry body representing the needs and interests of accommodation providers in Australia. AA represents a diverse portfolio of more than 80 percent of all accommodation providers in Australia including backpacker hostels, motels, caravan parks, hotels, and resorts. The organisation also represents some of the world’s largest hotel groups, including Accor, which recently achieved Sustainable Tourism Certification for four of its properties in September 2023, and have committed to certifying a further 150 hotels as ECO Certified or Sustainable Tourism Certified in the coming months.

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