How does it work?
Stage 1: Enquiry
Contact Ecotourism Australia for a copy of the engagement letter (you can email us here). The engagement letter outlines the detailed process, pricing structure, responsibilities of the destination & Ecotourism Australia and collects the details we require of you to get started.
Stage 2: Engagement
Complete and return the engagement letter to us.
We will then be in contact to begin to get to know you and your destination better, arrange a site induction by our Programs Manager, to provide you with the initial engagement fee invoice and a login to the online platform (once the engagement fee is paid).
We will conduct a site induction as soon as reasonably possible (once the engagement fee is paid). The site induction will be a way of introducing the destination management organisation and the destination's stakeholders to the certification and application process, undergo a site tour to gain a better understanding of your destination, conduct meetings with relevant staff on how to use the online platform, discuss marketing opportunities and build a works plan for the application process.
Stage 3: Application
The destination will begin working through the criteria on the online platform with the chosen level of support from Ecotourism Australia's program manager. This is also guidance and best practice examples provided on the online platform.
Ecotourism Australia will simultaneously work with the destination to begin building presence of ECO Certified operators within the destination as this is an aspect of the ECO Destination Certification. This may include; running ECO Certification workshops about the certification process and it's benefits, helping the destination to setup licenses, exclusive access or limited fee to those that are certified.
An optional component of the application process is entering into the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, and "Best of" awards at ITB in Berlin.
Stage 4: Certification
Once the destination has completed the desired % of criteria to reach the level of certification they are aiming for:
80% of criteria completed = Nature Destination Certification
90% of criteria completed = Ecotourism Destination Certification
100% of criteria completed = Green Destinations Certified (Ecotourism)
Note - You do not need to decide which certification level you want to achieve before applying. You will still be able to upgrade to a higher level of certification later if you wish.
Ecotourism Australia's Program Manager will conduct a technical check and then arrange for an independent, qualified auditor to conduct an online and onsite audit of the application. Audits are critical for the success of this program as they provide a way of verifying what the destination has reported and providing feedback on the application.
Once the audit is completed successfully certification is awarded and the destination is provided marketing collateral and communication tools to shout this good news to the world!
An annual renewal fee (regardless of if certification is achieved) will be payable by the destination yearly from the date of engagement (unless the destination has reached "Green Destinations Certified (Ecotourism)" in which the renewal date will the date certification is reached). The destination will then be required to undergo audits every 2 years (online or onsite frequency varies on the level of certification).