Celebrating twenty years of ECO Certification: Twelve tourism businesses inducted into Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame

by | Aug 9, 2023 | Article

Jacqui Way Photography: Rawnsley Park Station, SA

Twelve eco and nature-based tourism businesses have cemented their legacy as leaders in Australia’s sustainable tourism industry by achieving 20 years of ECO Certification and entering Ecotourism Australia’s prestigious Hall of Fame in 2023.

A further 23 ECO Certified tourism operators have been recognised as “Green Travel Leaders” for their 10 years of certification.

Ecotourism Australia CEO Ms Elissa Keenan congratulated these operators for their outstanding efforts over a significant period.

“Our new Hall of Fame entrants have been ECO Certified for more than twenty years and are among Australia’s first sustainable tourism innovators. They join 50 operators who been awarded Hall of Fame status since 1997.

“Similarly, our Green Travel Leaders, who are tourism businesses that have reached a decade of ECO Certification, should be commended for their continuous commitment to global sustainability standards,” Ms Keenan said.

“With travellers increasingly seeking transformative and sustainable experiences that make a difference, these operators are at the forefront of world-class sustainability leadership.

Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The certification not only provides operators with key business development tools and equips them to champion their dedication to sustainability in tourism, but it ensures continuous accountability towards long-term sustainability goals.

The Retreat Manager of Western Australia’s Forest Rise Retreat (a Hall of Fame entrant) Mr Benson Holland believes all businesses should be aiming for sustainability.

“[ECO Certification] gives our team a sense of pride and responsibility with the product we offer,” said Holland. “It also gives assurance to our guests that we are committed to a sustainable future and a great point of difference against our competitors.

Joh Bloomberg, Safety, Environment & Community Manager at Tasmanian Walking Company, this year recognised as a Green Travel Leader says, “Certification has acted as a super helpful signpost, pointing out which direction we should walk in!”

Bloomberg continues, “By using the Ecotourism Australia accreditation and certification process we have been able to anchor our passion and ideas in a solid, usable, and useful framework that helps us build on our current initiatives and shows the way for continuous improvement across the business.”

Operations Manager Marie Hiles from Green Travel Leader business Tribal Warrior in New South Wales said, “As an Aboriginal-owned and operated business our core beliefs really align with Ecotourism Australia as connecting to culture and connecting to country is what we provide.”

Ecotourism Australia has more certified more than 1,800 tours, attractions, accommodation providers and experiences across the country. 56% of certified operators have been certified for over 10 years, and just over 60 businesses have reached over 20 years of certification, demonstrating a profound commitment to sustainability as a core component of nature tourism businesses.

2023 is a milestone year for Ecotourism Australia, with 14 businesses noted for reaching 25 years of ECO Certification. Already recognised in the Hall of Fame, these operators are the original pioneers of ecotourism globally.

“As an ecotourism leader, we are driven by a sustainability mission which sees us continuously challenging ourselves to learn and improve how we operate,” stated Richard Berman-Hardman, General Manager of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Queensland.

“We are also privileged to have the opportunity to connect thousands of people from all over the world with the story of the oldest, most important rainforest environment on Earth and we are committed to raising awareness and delivering an experience which builds enthusiasm and passion for the ecosystem we present.

“We feel that Ecotourism Australia understands this and shares our vision for a progressive, sustainable mindset within the visitor economy. ECO certification provides assurances to prospective visitors that they are choosing an ethical, well managed product and we couldn’t imagine operating without this seal of approval.”

All operators certified by Ecotourism Australia are featured on the all-in-one sustainable travel platform, the Green Travel Guide. The Green Travel Guide allows travellers to find over 1,800 certified and sustainable experiences across Australia and book directly with operators.

25+ years certified

Quicksilver Connections
Wavedancer – Low Isles
Binna Burra Mountain Lodge
Kingfisher Bay Resort
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Tour Gold Coast
Ocean Rafting
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
Wildlife Habitat
Canopy Rainforest Tree Houses & Wildlife Sanctuary
Wavelength Reef Cruises

Gippsland High Country Tours (After 32 years of operating, Gippsland High Country Tours have decided to close their doors. We thank them for their contribution to certified sustainable tourism as one of the first operators to achieve ECO Certification.)

South Australia
Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Northern Territory
Gecko Canoeing and Trekking

Hall of Fame entrants 2023
(20 years of ECO Certification)

Western Australia
Forest Rise Chalets & Lodge
Kimberley Quest
The Great Escape Charter Company
Three Islands Whale Shark Dive
Ningaloo Coral Bay Boats
Go Wild Adventure Tours

Hervey Bay Whale Watch
Tallship Adventures & Tallship Derwent Hunter

South Australia
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Rawnsley Park Station

Northern Territory
Alice Springs Desert Park

Coral Expeditions

Green Travel Leader 2023
(10 years of ECO Certification)

New South Wales
Tribal Warrior
Simmo’s Offroad Tours
Broger’s End Kangaroo Valley
Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat
Oakvale Wildlife Park
Spirit Safaris
AquaFun Avoca Lake

Tasman Venture
Horizon Guides
Australian Sunset Safaris
Whitsunday Escape Pty Ltd
Queensland Japanese Services

Tasmanian Expeditions
Tarkine Wilderness Lodge Meunna
Tasmanian Walking Company
Freycinet Experience Walk

South Australia
Temptation Dolphin Cruise

Torquay Surfing Academy

Western Australia
Absolute Ocean Charters
Northern Territory
Cicada Lodge

World Expeditions & Australian Walking Holidays
Untamed Escapes

Cover image: Jacqui Way Photography for Rawnsley Park Station, SA.


Media Contacts
Ecotourism Australia: Georgie Snare, Communications and Events Officer, (e): georgie@ecotourism.org.au (ph): 07 3256 6777

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