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Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification gains Global Approval

Wednesday, 22 July 2015
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Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification program has been Approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), as one of the first tourism certification programs in the world to meet the compliance requirements of the GSTC Approval Manual.

“GSTC Approval status brings further credibility to a well-respected and established brand, ECO certification, and raises its profile in the global arena. International guests can now recognise and choose with confidence high quality tour operators delivering true ecotourism experiences” said Rod Hillman – CEO Ecotourism Australia.

The GSTC establishes and manages global sustainable standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices. They are an independent body, serving the important role of managing global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The acceptance of ECO certification as a GSTC Approved standard builds on the ECO certified tour operators’ deserved reputation for delivering high quality, sustainable best practice, tourism experiences that have true conservation benefits.

This level of excellence was evident at the recent Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) where 20% of all sellers were ECO certified, and at the National Tourism Awards where a third of all winners were ECO certified, and over 40% of all finalists were ECO certified.

Randy Durband, CEO GSTC, congratulated Ecotourism Australia on the achievement; "Congratulations, … Ecotourism Australia's certification of travel products verifies to the traveling public that the claims of the travel provider are valid and based on EA's independent, 3rd-party review of those claims. In the same manner, the 'GSTC Approved' mark indicates that an independent and neutral team of evaluators have determined that EA's own processes for certifying travel products are transparent, impartial, and competent. Travelers choosing products that are certified by Ecotourism Australia can be assured that those products are deemed sustainable according to the highest international standards."

“In global terms Australia is a small market with a range of internally relevant brands. Attaining the GSTC Approved status allows ECO certified tour operators to proudly display the GSTC branding, instantly placing them in the global marketplace with a brand that is recognised and respected” said Rod Hillman – CEO of Ecotourism Australia. “Australia should be the world’s premier nature based tourism destination with twelve (12) World Heritage Natural sites, a broad range of high quality ecotourism operators and well managed protected areas. ECO certification gaining GSTC Approved status is yet another way that Australia’s Nature Tourism Industry is proving itself ready, willing and able to claim its role on the world stage,” said Rod Hillman.

For Advanced Ecotourism and Ecotourism ECO certified tours, accommodations and attractions, the Approval means they can now display the GSTC Approved brand and will be registered in the GSTC Product Index. These operators will also be included in a broad based marketing strategy targeting online booking agencies and to various travel providers to use for purposes of preferential buying.

eco-tourism-logoNOTE: Eco-tourism Africa, a COMET Corporation initiative, is working in conjunction with Eco-tourism Australia to bring their Certification Programme to the African SADC countries under the Eco-toursim Africa logo.

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