Inspiring local operators to become ECO certified

Article image - Inspiring local operators to become ECO certified ECO tourism certification applicant, Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP, offers everything ‘stand-up-paddle’ – including yoga.

Central Coast Council, New South Wales, is currently on its way to becoming a certified ECO Destination and an important part of the journey has been assisting local nature-based businesses to pursue formal recognition as ecotourism providers themselves.

Achieving ECO Destination Certification will see the Central Coast recognised as a world-class location for sustainable and nature-based tourism, which will provide a substantial and ongoing boost to the local economy.

Central Coast Council is working with Ecotourism Australia and World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)-Australia to achieve ECO Destination Certification by World Environment Day in June 2022. Council recently also welcomed an additional 11 local nature-based businesses into the certification program.

Council will continue to work with applicants directly and through a fully funded partnership with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia, to provide mentoring throughout their certification journey, and a $500 membership funding incentive to assist with the first year of the process.

Chief Executive at Ecotourism Australia, Rod Hillman said the Central Coast was an outstanding candidate to become a certified ECO Destination.

“The Central Coast has well managed and extensive protected areas, a strong environmental ethic within the community and Council, and high quality existing ecotourism experiences.

“Ecotourism Australia visited the Central Coast in May to launch the region’s journey to become a certified ECO Destination with regional stakeholders and to announce an incentive program to create and build new ecotourism products in the region.

“Working closely with Central Coast Council, regional stakeholders and the local tourism industry, the program is designed to build on the Central Coast’s reputation as a premium location for high quality ecotourism experiences and accommodation.

“The incentive program has encouraged 11 existing tourism businesses in the region to build on their sustainability credentials and practices by starting their application to be ECO Certified.”