Operator Credibility and Recognition
For all Certified operators, certification is recognition of a high standard of operations, and is beneficial when applying for grants, awards, licenses or permits.
Our certification schemes are independently assessed and audited, ensuring a high standard for quality and compliance. ECO certification provides recognition for consumers to be assured of your commitment to environmental best practice, quality experience and customer service.
Global Quality Assurance
Our ECO Certification standard is GSTC-Recognized through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This means that GSTC has verified that our standard aligns with the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism and is administered by a standard owner that meets GSTC requirements.
GSTC establishes and manages global sustainability standards for the tourism industry with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders.
Marketing and Promotion
- Free listing (with image, link to your website, contact details, fully searchable capabilities, and more) in Ecotourism Australia's online Green Travel Guide. Our Green Travel Guide is promoted regularly through Ecotourism Australia's web marketing streams, and at Australian Tourism Exchange to international buyers.
- Free linking of your products to an interactive map on Ecotourism Australia's Green Travel Guide.
- Opportunity to upgrade to premium web listing options on Ecotourism Australia's Green Travel Guide.
- Free opportunities to feature in our monthly EcoBytes newsletter distributed to over 6,500 subscribers and followers.
- Increased social media exposure: Ecotourism Australia regularly features certified operators through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and reaches out to close to 13,000 followers, share with us so we can share for you!
- Ecotourism Australia features and refers to certified operators in Green Expos, trade events, media referrals and editorials. We also use our operators photos and footage in our own marketing material for additional promotional benefits.
- Ecotourism Australia regularly partners with major publications to offer members discounted advertising packages, making some marketing opportunities more accessible for small businesses.
Green Travel Leaders
Ecotourism Australia rewards its long-standing supporters through our Green Travel Leader status. Green Travel Leaders are tourism businesses that have held certification with Ecotourism Australia for 10 or more years. Green Travel Leaders receive:
- A free premium Green Travel Guide web listing, with priority listing, 5 rotating images, social media and TripAdvisor linking.
- The Green Travel Leader logo for display in their marketing material.
- Exclusive marketing opportunities.
Certified operators are entitled to a free product listing on the Our Planet Travel website, which includes a blog listing, with description text, contact details (including web link), and images. There are also opportunities to be featured in Our Planet Travel's Quarterly publication, which is distributed their own strong subscriber base and Partners' members in both print and digital media.
Australian Tourism Exchange
The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) is an annual business-to-business forum, aimed to bring businesses working in the tourism industry together. During this event tourism operators have the opportunity to promote their products directly to international tourism wholesalers and retailers. The ATE is a global event, attended by around 1,500 delegates every year, including roughly 500 tourism businesses and over 600 domestic and international Buyer delegates and media representatives.
Understanding that attendance at the ATE is not always achievable for small businesses, Ecotourism Australia attends the ATE on behalf of all its certified operators. While attending ATE, Ecotourism Australia aims to promote members' products and create connections, build meaningful partnerships and value enhancing relationships, and to broaden the reach of our certification programs.
Australian Tourism Awards
The Australian Tourism Awards are an annual awards program celebrating and recognising excellence in the tourism industry. Each state and territory's Tourism Industry Council hold their own tourism awards, from which the winners filter through to compete at a national level.
Ecotourism Australia attends the Australian Tourism Awards as the sponsor of the Ecotourism category, which recognises ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.
Ecotourism Australia will happily supply nominating operations with a letter of recommendation to support their application.
Certification is a mandatory requirement for entrants into the Queensland and Tasmanian Tourism Awards. Ecotourism Australia's programs are approved certification standards for entry.
Membership with Ecotourism Australia
- Full Membership with Ecotourism Australia included with all Certifications.
- Certified Members receive full voting rights at the Annual General Meeting.
- Certified Members may nominate and/or stand for election to the Board of Directors of Ecotourism Australia.
- FREE optional membership with the Geotourism Forum.
- FREE listings for Certified operators and EcoGuides to advertise positions on our Career Opportunities page and in our EcoBytes newsletter.
- Dual Certification for ECO and ROC – no additional annual fee.
- Heavily discounted fee for operators already certified through ECO or Climate Action to gain a second certification.
- EcoGuide discounts for operators with multiple certified EcoGuides.
Tourism Tribe Membership Discount
"Build your digital skills to build your business"
Tourism Tribe, a group of digital marketing specialists, has created an exclusive membership benefit with Ecotourism Australia. For $90 for the full year you will have access to:
- over 65 online tutorials spanning social media, SEO, web marketing, Google tools and more
- help forums
- online chat support
- member only webinars
- access to digital experts
Tourism Tribe is a space where those in the business of Tourism learn how to get a greater share of customers. We connect you with online learning resources, tourism experts and a community of like-minded businesses.
Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference
Certified operators receive a 25% discount on registrations for the Annual Global Eco Conference. For more information, visit the Global Eco Conference page.
Sharing Best Practice and Continuous Improvement
- Commitment to the ECO, Respecting Our Culture (ROC) and Climate Action (CA) certification programs demonstrates a commitment of continuous improvement through certification upgrades, external audits and an opportunity to use developed templates for improving business performance.
- Opportunity to feature in, or provide ecotourism case study for publication and distribution through Ecotourism Australia.
- Opportunity to create local networks of tourism professionals with certification to promote operations and encourage shared practices.
Licencing and Permits
Certification is recognised and rewarded by Australian State licence and permit managers.
Operators with a Nature, Ecotourism or Advanced Ecotourism certification are eligible for a 3 year licence through NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
Operators with Advanced Ecotourism certification are eligible for a premium 10 year licence - extended 10 year permits are available through NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.
Certification is mandatory for Parks Australia parks (Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta).
ECO or ROC certified operators in Uluru and Kakadu can apply for a 3-year standard land based permit (in addition to 1 year permit).
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority offers 20 year permits to those operators on the Reef who have products certified at the Ecotourism or Advanced Ecotourism levels.
Certification is required for operators in Queensland who hold a 15-year Commercial Activity Agreement for guided tours in:
• K’Gari - Fraser Island Recreation Area
• Great Sandy Marine Park (Whale watching)
• Springbrook National Park (Glow worm tours)
Tourism Queensland is offering any new product that joins ATDW that does not already receive the $50 discount (i.e. RTO/affiliated LTO/QTIC) will get the $50 discount if they have Ecotourism Australia Certification.
Operators with Nature Tourism or Climate Action certification are eligible for a 3 year Commercial Tour Operator Licence through National Parks South Australia.
Operators with Ecotourism, Advanced Ecotourism or ROC certification are eligible for a 5 year Commercial Tour Operator Licence through National Park South Australia.
Products operating in a Tasmanian National Park are required to hold accreditation. ECO Certification is one of the recognised programs.
Businesses nominating for Tasmanian Tourism Awards require certification, Ecotourism Australia's certification programs are recognised.
Operators with Nature Tourism or ROC certification are eligible for a 3 year licence through Parks Victoria.
Operators with Ecotourism or Advanced Ecotourism certification are eligible for a 10 year licence through Parks Victoria.
Operators with Nature Tourism certification are eligible for a 1, 3 or 5 year licence through the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Operators with Ecotourism certification are eligible for a 7 year licence through the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Operators with Advanced Ecotourism certification are eligible for a 10 year licence through the Department of Parks and Wildlife.