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Terms & Conditions

ECO and ROC Certification is an Australian developed program designed for the Australian context. The program is based on a self-assessment model. The credibility of the scheme is established through the verification that all applicable sections have been completed; checking that all supporting material has been provided; and finally through a comprehensive, third party, independent audit process.

ECO and ROC Certification includes a comprehensive coverage of the three elements of sustainability: economic, environmental and social/cultural sustainability.

The ROC Program addresses Cultural Protocols, Business Management and Caring for Country (sustainable environmental practices). ROC delivers guidelines and provides procedures which protect cultural integrity and authenticity at the local level.

ECO and ROC Certification represents current best practice and this has resulted in the raising of standards in many of the criteria listed.

The following Terms and Conditions have been created to benefit the integrity of our members and to ensure the highest of standards are maintained and followed.

Refund Policy
Annual Fees
If a refund is requested within the first 3 months of certification or membership renewal, Ecotourism Australia will refund 50% of your annual fee. Should you cancel after 3 months of renewing, a refund will not be provided.

Application Fees
Ecotourism Australia has a 30 day cooling off period, starting from the day you sign up and pay application fees. If you contact Ecotourism Australia within the 30 day period you will be eligible to receive a refund of your full application fees. Contacting EA after the 30 period will result in a forfeit of the already paid fees.

Fee Policy
Credit Card Fees & Charges
If you choose to pay your annual certification or membership fees with a credit card, a 2% surcharge will be added to your payment amount.

If you choose to pay your annual certification or membership fees via a payment plan with EziDebit, their fees and charges will apply.

Annual Fees
Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right to change or increase certification and membership fees at any time.

We will contact you informing of these changes prior to you certification or membership renewal expiry date.

Time Restrictions on Applications
Applicants have 12 months in which to complete a certification application. If 12 months has lapsed you will be required to begin the application process again. This includes registering and paying all applicable fees.

If you are unable to complete your application within the allocated time frame, please advise Ecotourism Australia before the 12 months is complete. Ecotourism Australia reserves the right to cancel an application after the lapsed time.

Cancellation Policy
Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right at its absolute discretion to suspend the provision of any services to a member or certified operator, to terminate his or her membership or certification without prior notice to that member or certified operator including but not limited to the following:

  1. Where a certified operator fails to comply with the core criteria in any of Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs, fails to comply with the Ecotourism Australia Code of Ethics or brings the Ecotourism Industry into disrepute;
  2. Where a certified operator claims bankruptcy or is declared bankrupt;
  3. Where a certified operator is convicted of a criminal offence;
  4. On advice from a Protected Area Manager advising of any breaches or contravention of rules. 
  5. Non-payment of certification and or Park permit/license fees and charges;
  6. Where incorrect information is provided on an application for membership or certification, or a notification of change, or when Ecotourism Australia Limited deems that notification of a change was not provided promptly;
  7. Where Ecotourism Australia Limited deems the member or certified operator to have behaved inappropriately or where Ecotourism Australia Limited has reason to believe that the member is likely to do so;
  8. Where the member or certified operator violates any of the other clauses in these terms and conditions.

View our full compliance management policy here.

If certification is cancelled or suspended an Operator has 12 months to reinstate their certification. If seeking reinstatement after 12 months a new application and associated fees will be required.

Copyright
Members and Certified Operators must not use (including duplication, public release, verbal communication, display, circulation, loan, translation or adaptation) the information provided by Ecotourism Australia via the services either for their own purposes or for a third party except where such use is permitted under copyright laws.

Agreement modifications
Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time as appropriate and may provide Members and Certified Operators with notice of modification. Such modification will be effective immediately upon sending or posting of the modified terms and conditions.

Logo Use
One of the benefits of certification is the opportunity to display certification logos which serve both as a marketing aid but also as a way to educate the traveller and to help them make better choices and identify unsubstantiated environmental claims from non-certified products.

To remain compliant with the “Responsible Marketing” core criteria you must follow Ecotourism Australia’s logo guide for the proper use. View Ecotourism Australia logo guide here.

Feedback & Complaints
Feedback and complaints are important in helping us to resolve concerns regarding certified operators quickly and effectively. View our full complaints process here.

Updating Business Details
All Certified operators are required to inform Ecotourism Australia of any changes to their operations which may impact upon their certification.  If any changes occur to your business please inform us of the proposed changes so that we may assess any potential implications to the current certification.  Changes may include but are not limited to; changes in ownership or management, changes to the business name or changes to certified products.

Audit Compliance
An audit will be conducted somewhere within the first three months of certification, and then every three years thereafter. At least 20% of all certified products will be audited annually.

In order for your certification to be always up-to-date and to facilitate the audit process we require your documentation to be updated regularly. 

Failing an audit or unsuccessfully addressing the requested corrective actions from an audit within the required time frame may result in cancellation of your certification and membership.

A ‘Secret Shopper’ exercise may be used in addition to an Audit and feedback from a ‘Secret Shopper’ will be treated in the same manner as an Audit.

All audits are carried out in compliance with Ecotourism Australia's and Conservation Volunteers Australia's partnership. For more information view our FAQ.

View our full compliance management policy below.

PrivacyStatement
Ecotourism Australia Limited is a member based public company (limited by guarantee) registered under the Corporations Act 2001.

Ecotourism Australia Limited is committed to protecting user privacy. We understand and appreciate that visitors and users are concerned about their privacy and the confidentiality and security of any information that may be provided.

Ecotourism Australia Limited is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and has publicly committed to complying with the Act and protect the privacy of the personal information that Ecotourism Australia Limited holds.

This Privacy Policy explains:

  • what personal information we collect
  • how we collect and use your personal information
  • disclosure
  • your right of access to your personal information
  • your right to inspect and, where necessary, correct the personal information that we hold about you
  • your right to have your privacy complaints investigated and resolve
  • your right to have your personal information protected from misuse or unauthorised access

This policy applies to independent contractors and job applicants, as well as individuals who provide Ecotourism Australia Limited with their personal information.

What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that can be used to identify a person no matter how it is collected or recorded. Generally, personal information is collected by Ecotourism Australia Limited from a variety of sources, including when dealing with members or customers, when dealing with individuals, undertaking marketing initiatives, or when recruiting.

Should we collect personal information from you this may include (but is not limited to) your name, address, email address, telephone numbers, gender, financial information including credit card and banking information, and other means of personal identification.

How do we collect personal information?
Where possible, we collect your personal information directly from you. If you feel that the information that we are requesting, either from our website (www.ecotourism.org.au), on our forms, or in our discussions with you, is not information that you wish to provide, please feel free to raise this with us.

In some circumstances, Ecotourism Australia Limited may obtain personal information from a third party. If you provide personal information about another person to Ecotourism Australia Limited, Ecotourism Australia Limited requires that you inform that person you have done so and provide them with a copy of this policy.

When dealing with membership, fulfilling your registrations to certification or events, or purchasing Products or Services, Ecotourism Australia Limited will collect at a minimum the following:

  • name of the contact person or people from the organisation
  • business address and contact details
  • nature of products or services being sought for the purposes of filling your order
  • payment details by Credit Card, Invoice or direct debit

We collect information by phone, in writing (e.g. email, fax, letter), and electronically when you register for an event or purchase a product from our web site www.ecotourism.org.au. We will use this information to provide membership, products, and services and may also use it for product development and marketing purposes.

When using our website, we collect information from you by using a feature of your browser called a cookie to assign your computer a “User ID”. Cookies do not contain information by which Ecotourism Australia Limited can identify you. They identify your computer to our servers. You may configure your browser so that you are notified before a cookie is downloaded. Ecotourism Australia Limited may use information contained in cookies to make assumptions about the user of the computer.

When dealing with independent contractors, Ecotourism Australia Limited collects the following:

  • name
  • business address and contact details
  • insurance details
  • rates and fees

Ecotourism Australia Limited collects this information by phone and in writing. We will use this information to ensure that our independent contractors can perform work for Ecotourism Australia Limited in a safe and lawful manner.

When dealing with job applicants, Ecotourism Australia Limited collects the following:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address/contact details
  • occupation
  • career history
  • references

Ecotourism Australia Limited collects this information in the course of job interviews, telephone discussions, reference checks and in writing. Ecotourism Australia Limited will use this information to assess the suitability of applicants for a position. In the event that the job application is rejected, Ecotourism Australia Limited may keep the information to use in the event that an appropriate vacancy arises.

How we use the information you provide?
We will not use your personal information for any purpose which is not related to the primary purpose for which it is collected. We will not use your personal information for any purpose for which you would not reasonably expect us to use your personal information.

Your personal information may also be used:

  • to deliver the products and services that you requested
  • to provide you with further information about the products and services you requested
  • to personalise and customise your experiences with Ecotourism Australia Limited
  • to help Ecotourism Australia Limited to manage and enhance its services
  • to communicate with you
  • for administration purposes, including charging, billing and collecting debts
  • to promote and market other products and services of Ecotourism Australia Limited which we consider may be of interest to you

There may be times when customer information is made available to outside contractors (such as mailing houses) to assist with the distribution of tourism information. These companies are strictly forbidden to use this information for any other purpose.

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we hold is accurate and up-to-date. If you feel that information about you is not accurate or your details have or are about to change, you can email us at eco@ecotourism.org.au and we will correct or update your personal information.

When do we disclose your personal information?

We guarantee that we will not sell your personal information to any third party.

For the purposes referred to in this policy, we may disclose your personal information to external organisations including:

  • our professional advisors, accountants, auditors and lawyers; and
  • our related entities and companies

Ecotourism Australia Limited may also share information on the status of certification and compliance of certified businesses with relevant authorities.

We also engage a third party contractor to provide online credit card account processing and related services. When you pay your accounts online, a secure server is used. RapidSSL encrypts the information you send through this website. For further information about RapidSSL and how they collect, use and disclose personal information, please go to: www.rapidssl.com/privacy/index.html

Ecotourism Australia Limited makes no warranty in respect of the strength or effectiveness of that encryption and Ecotourism Australia Limited is not responsible or liable for events arising from unauthorised access of the information you provide.

Access to your personal information
You have a right to access your personal information, subject to certain exceptions provided for in the Privacy Act. Access will be provided in accordance with NSW Business Chamber's Access Policy. If you require access to your personal information, please contact eco@ecotourism.org.au For security reasons, you will be required to put your request in writing and provide proof of your identity.

Security of your information
We will take all reasonable steps to secure your personal information. Electronic information is protected by various security measures and access to information and databases is restricted, by password protection and physical security measures, to staff and officers of Ecotourism Australia Limited.

Complaints
If you have a complaint about Ecotourism Australia Limited’s privacy practices, please contact the Chief Executive. Letters of complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 30 days from the date on which the application was received. Ecotourism Australia Limited undertakes to conduct a review and respond to the complaint within 60 days from the date on which the application is received. Applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome.

How to contact us
If you would like more information on privacy or have any questions in relation to this policy please contact eco@ecotourism.org.au

Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right to review, and if necessary, change this Privacy Policy.

Ecotourism Australia Compliance Management Policy

Continuous Improvement
Certification is based on the principle of continuous improvement, and is designed to assist the tourism industry to continually improve standards. The criteria will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to reflect industry standards and performance, and more stringent standards are likely to be put in place following each review.

Each year an annual declaration will be issued to all certified operators to ensure the integrity of the responses in the initial application is maintained. If there have been any changes to either program, a copy of the changes will be sent with the annual declaration for review and submission.

Assessments

Ecotourism Australia’s Certification Coaches will complete an initial check of every submission received to ensure the operator has provided all required supporting documentation and has completed the application to the best of their ability.

The Certification Coaches will submit the application and all required supporting documentation to be assessed to Ecotourism Australia’s, Certification Assessor

Audits
Certification is based on self-assessment in the first instance. Auditing plays a crucial role in the credibility of the programs. Auditing is carried out by a member of our panel of independent, qualified and experienced auditors.

Ecotourism Australia will investigate any customer or other feedback that indicates a breach in certification standards may have occurred.

An audit will be conducted somewhere within the first three months of certification, and then every three years thereafter. At least 20% of all certified products will be audited annually. 

In order for your certification to be always up-to-date and to facilitate the audit process we require your documentation to be updated regularly.

Random or targeted onsite audits of a set percentage of certified products will be undertaken each year. Operators will be contacted at least 21 days prior to the commencement of the audit. Operators must provide free of charge entry and reasonable access for an auditor to evaluate their product(s).

Mystery shop style audits may also be undertaken in situations where it is deemed that a regular audit would not be sufficient. Operators may not be advised that their product/s have been selected for a mystery shop style audit.

All audits are carried out in compliance with Ecotourism Australia's and Conservation Volunteers Australia's partnership. For more information view our FAQ.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
As a GSTC Approved certification program, all operators certified under the program must allow the GSTC access to their premises, personnel and records for the purpose of audit.

Appeals Process
An operator with existing certification, an applicant applying for certification, or an operator re-applying for certification, has a right of appeal if their application for certification is rejected, or certification removed, following an audit or application refused.

Appeals will be evaluated by the Program Appeals Tribunal and must be lodged with Ecotourism Australia no later than 21 days after notice of the decision has been given.

Complaints, Suspension or Forfeiture of Certification
Certification may be suspended pending rectification of an identified problem, or revoked by Ecotourism Australia’s Certification Committee if a certified product is found not to meet required criteria.

Should Ecotourism Australia receive a complaint, consumer feedback, or recommendations from an audit report, Ecotourism Australia will write to the operator requesting a written response. Operators have 28 days to respond in writing to any matters relating to the cancellation of certification. Operators have 14 days to respond in writing to any complaints made against them.  

If an adequate explanation is not provided, the operator will be given a defined period to rectify the situation. Failure to comply with the request within the designated period may result in certification being suspended pending rectification, or cancelled.

If certification is suspended then:

  • The maximum period of suspension is six months (beyond six months the certification will be forfeited);
  • A notice of suspended certification status will be distributed to relevant government agencies and key tourism industry organisations;
  • Ecotourism Australia would remove the operator from any of its lists and website material;
  • Ecotourism Australia would suspend its support for the operator in its marketing and education programs, for the duration of the suspension period; and
  • The operator would be required to remove its certification logo from their website and would be required to exclude the logo from any new material printed during the suspension period (existing printed material, containing the certification logos, would not need to be destroyed).

If the product certification is cancelled then:

  • The operator must cease representing the product as certified. This includes withdrawing all marketing material featuring the certification logo and the national tourism accreditation “tick” logo, and notifying third parties (e.g. wholesalers, agents) who may be promoting the product as certified;
  • A notice of loss of certification status will be distributed to relevant government agencies and key tourism industry organisations; and
  • Where applicable the Certification Program manager, and/or ATAP, retain the right to recover the use of the ATAP “tick” logo from the applicant or directly from the business entity.

Should the operator wish to reapply for certification at a later stage, they will be required to submit a new application with appropriate application fees.

Note:
Ecotourism Australia reserves the right to suspend/cancel certification of any operator where multiple, serious complaints are received. The guidelines for suspension/cancellation are:

  • At least 3 formal complaints received over a 24 month period
  • Supporting evidence documented through on site audits, visitor centres, PAM’s, Trip Advisor web based schemes etc
  • All evidence supporting suspension/cancellation will be presented to the Certification Committee who will determine the final decision

In this circumstance, if the operator wishes to maintain their certification, the operator must fund an auditor to conduct a full audit of the business. Any corrective actions noted during the onsite audit must be addressed before certification can be reinstated.

Terms and Conditions:
Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right at its absolute discretion to suspend the provision of any services to a member or certified operator, to terminate his or her membership or certification without prior notice to that member or certified operator including but not limited to the following:

  1. Where a certified operator fails to comply with the core criteria in any of Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs or a member fails to comply with the Ecotourism Australia Code of Ethics 
  2. Where incorrect information is provided on an application for membership or certification, or a notification of change, or when Ecotourism Australia Limited deems that notification of a change was not provided promptly;
  3. Where the member or Certified Operator has obstructed or hindered the operation of services;
  4. Where Ecotourism Australia Limited deems the member or certified operator to have behaved inappropriately or where Ecotourism Australia Limited has reason to believe that the member is likely to do so;
  5. Where the member or certified operator violates any of the other clauses in these terms and conditions.

Copyright
Members and Certified Operators must not use (including duplication, public release, verbal communication, display, circulation, loan, translation or adaptation) the information provided via the services either for their own purposes or for a third party except where such use is permitted under copyright laws.

Agreement modifications
Ecotourism Australia Limited reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time as appropriate and may provide Members and Certified Operators with notice of modification. Such modification will be effective immediately upon sending or posting of the modified terms and conditions.

Certification Definitions
Suspended
A suspension can be applied for the following reasons;

  • Non-payment of an outstanding debt.
  • Unsatisfactory resolution to an outstanding compliance issue arising from an audit or complaint.
  • A break of the terms and conditions.

When an operator becomes suspended they will become inactive in the EA database. This will mean the operator will no longer receive the following benefits;

  • Display on Ecotourism Australia’s website
  • Receiving referrals from the media
  • Receiving referrals from trade enquiries.

A suspension is not permanent and can be lifted if there is resolution to the outstanding issue within the required time frame provided on a case by case basis.

Cancelled
A cancellation of certification occurs due to the following;

  • If resolution is not achieved for an issue that has caused suspension.
  • If resolution is not achieved during the allocated timeframe to an issue that has caused suspension.
  • If the operator receives 3 complaints of a similar nature over a 24 month period.
  • If the cancellation is initiated by the operator.

Once certification has been cancelled reinstatement can be achieved through completing the full certification application process again, unless the cancellation is due to non-payment of fees or at the initiation of the operator. In those cases, certification can be reinstated by formal request by the operator and the payment of all outstanding monies.

If the certification has been cancelled due to a compliance issue, reinstatement would also require comprehensive demonstration of permanent rectification of the matter that created the compliance issue initially.
In the case of cancellation of certification all relevant authorities will be informed.

Certification Administrative Structure and Governance

ECO, ROC, Climate Action, and EcoGuide Certification Programs are products of Ecotourism Australia (EA).

The Certification Programs are managed by the Ecotourism Australia national office. Ecotourism Australia coordinates the day-to-day running of the programs.

Ecotourism Australia and its Certification Programs are operated on a not-for-profit basis.

Administrative, certification and audit costs are covered by application and annual fees paid by certified operators. Ecotourism Australia also actively seeks assistance from government and industry partners to support the development of this innovative scheme.

The ECO, ROC, Climate Action, and EcoGuide Certification Programs operate under a governance standard approved by the Board of Ecotourism Australia. There are four (4) principle elements to the administration of the programs to ensure a credible and transparent operating system:

  • The Certification Committee is a sub-committee of the elected EA Board. The committee is established by the EA Board and the Chair. The Certification Committee is assists in the governance and ongoing reviews of Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs.
  • The Certification Program Assessment is undertaken by trained assessors. Applications will be processed by the trained assessor and a recommendation for certification will be made by the assessor to the Certification Manager at EA.
  • The Independent Audit Program consists of independent and qualified auditors. Auditors have formal auditor qualifications plus experience within the tourism/sustainable tourism industry and environmental management.
  • The ECO Certification Program Appeals Tribunal is a sub-committee of three representatives selected to hear appeals by applicants against decisions of the Certification.