Ecotourism Australia

Ecotourism Australia is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry. Ecotourism Australia is the peak industry body for the ecotourism industry.

Formed in 1991, it is a not-for-profit organisation with a small administrative base that has significantly contributed to long term development of the ecotourism industry on a national and global level through its ground-breaking and world class ECO Certification Program.

The Association has a diverse membership that includes key industry sectors and including ecotourism accommodation, tour and attraction operators; tourism planners; protected area managers; academics and students; tourism, environmental, interpretation and training consultants; local and regional tourism associations and travellers.

ECO Certification Program The ECO Certification Program is a world first. It has been developed by industry for industry, addressing the need to identify genuine ecotourism and nature tourism operators in Australia.

The ECO Certification Program is now being exported to the rest of the world as the International Ecotourism Standard.

The ECO Certification Program has essentially established a ‘triple bottom line’ national standard providing environmental, economic and social sustainability benchmarks for the ecotourism industry.

Ecotourism and nature tourism certification provide industry, protected area managers, local communities and travellers with an assurance that a certified product is backed by a commitment to best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and the provision of quality ecotourism experiences.

The ECO Certification Program certifies tourism products. Three types of nature tourism or ecotourism product may be certified: Tours, Attractions and Accommodation.

The following table outlines the principles of the program and requirements for each level of certification.

Triple bottom line, the nature tourism or ecotourism product principles: Nature Tourism Ecotourism/Advanced Ecotourism Economic Sustainability

1. Business Management and Operational Planning

2. Business Ethics

3. Responsible Marketing

4. Customer Satisfaction Environmental Sustainability

5. Natural Area Focus

6. Environmental Sustainability

7. Interpretation and Education

8. Contribution to Conservation and Social Sustainability

9. Working with Local Communities

10. Cultural Respect and Sensitivity

EcoGuide Australia Program

The EcoGuide Australia Certification Program is a flagship program of Ecotourism Australia. It is an industry driven program for Nature and Ecotour Guides.

The EcoGuide Australia program provides a credential, endorsing the recipient as a guide who will deliver an authentic and professional Ecotourism experience.

The EcoGuide Program complements and supports the Eco Certification Program, which certifies Nature tourism and Ecotourism product.

The EcoGuide Australia Certification Program was developed out of a pilot program driven by major ecotourism stakeholders.

It comprised representatives from the tourism industry, protected area managers, training providers, the tourism industry training advisory board, the Nature and Ecotourism Certification Program, guiding and ecotourism associations and of course, the guides themselves.

An EcoGuide Australia Committee oversee the management and assessment of EcoGuides, backed by the expertise of the Ecotourism Australia management team.

The EcoGuide Australia Committee is comprised of nominated representatives elected from the Ecotourism Australia Board. Ecotourism Australia is a not for profit organisation that manages the EcoGuide Program on a self funding policy.

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