Central Coast News
More local tourism operators becoming ECO Certified
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 Director Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, Natalia Cowley said it was exciting to see so many local operators welcomed into the program.
"We are working with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia to achieve ECO Destination Certification by World Environment Day in June 2022," Ms Cowley said.
"As an important part of this journey, nature-based tourism businesses on the Coast were recently invited to submit an EOI seeking support to pursue formal recognition as an ecotourism provider, joining our region's wider certification journey.
"Through a fully-funded partnership with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia, these businesses will receive mentoring throughout their certification journey, as well as a $500 funding incentive to assist with the first year of the process."
The Central Coast has the largest regional cohort of certified or seeking certification businesses, with the following 10 operators now welcomed into the program:
- Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park - Calga
- Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP - Ettalong Beach
- Canton Beach Paddleshack - Canton Beach
- Elixir Journeys - Bouddi National Park
- Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures - Glenworth Valley
- Grace Springs Farm - Kulnura
- Iris Lodge Alpacas - Jilliby
Jake Cassar Bushcraft - Brisbane Water National Park
- Rocky Trail Entertainment - Lake Munmorah
- Terrigal Ocean Tours - Terrigal & Broken Bay
If successful in achieving certification, new program members will join the Central Coast's existing cohort of ECO certified operators - AquaFun Avoca Lake, Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Noonaweena in the hinterland, and TreeTops Adventure Park in Ourimbah State Forest.
Chief Executive at Ecotourism Australia, Rod Hillman said the Central Coast is 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," Mr Hillman said.
"Ecotourism Australia visited the Central Coast in May to launch the region's journey to become a certified ECO Destination with regional stakeholders and 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 10 existing tourism businesses in the region to build on their sustainability credentials and practices by starting their application to be ECO Certified."
Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the support of Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia will ensure the region fulfills its potential as an eco-destination of choice.
"The Central Coast has an abundance of world-class, nature-based tourist attractions and this sees us well-placed to attract an increasing number of visitors seeking sustainable travel experiences," Mr Hart said.
"Tourism is an important pillar of the Central Coast economy and ecotourism will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the region is front of mind for a broad mix of visitors."
The ECO Destination Certification program is fully funded by WWF-Australia as part of their Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.
Businesses in the certification program are supported with online tools, resources and bootcamps delivered by Ecotourism Australia to help their business become more sustainable.
For more information visit the dedicated ecotourism hub - here
ECO Destination Certification will play an important role in helping the Coast's tourism sector to recover following necessary COVID restrictions.
The current lockdown period makes it more important than ever to support all local businesses and to make this easier Council has recently launched three new 'Love Local' guides - here
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