August 10, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program has achieved ‘GSTC-Approved’ status. Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program is one of the first of three bodies to achieve GSTC Approval for its sustainable tourism certification of hotels and tour operators. This outstanding accomplishment exemplifies Ecotourism Australia’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.
Ecotourism Australia is a not for profit organization, formed in 1991, that is focused on inspiring environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism. As the peak industry body for ecotourism in Australia, they manage sustainability certification programs for nature based tourism operators. Ecotourism Australia’s primary product development tool, ECO certification, certifies close to 500 Ecotourism operators across Australia according to measures including environmental responsibility, interpretation and contribution to conservation. It is a world recognised program, with a UNESCO World Heritage Centre MOU, and works closely with Protected Area Managers, State and Regional Tourism Organisations, Government Agencies and various other stakeholders.
“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. GSTC Approval status brings further credibility to our well-respected and established brand, 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.
In order to become a GSTC-Approved standard, a certification program is required to have previously completed the GSTC-Recognized process. “GSTC Recognized” means that the standards include the 41 GSTC Criteria, which were created as global baseline standards. “GSTC Approved” means that the independent, objective and neutral GSTC Accreditation Panel has determined that the processes and practices utilized by the owner of the standards are applied professionally and objectively. Attaining both levels speaks to compliance with the GSTC Criteria and to excellence in utilizing their own standards. The GSTC programs recognize and reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.
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.”
To date, Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program is one of the first of three bodies to achieve GSTC Approval for its sustainable tourism certification of hotels and tour operators. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market benefit of proof that these national standards adhere to international norms.
The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market benefit of proof that these national standards adhere to international norms.
The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition, Approval & Accreditation of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Approved standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process in order to achieve improvements in their sustainability frameworks, further distinction amongst other certification programs, and receive increased market benefits.
Learn more about the GSTC-Approved mark
About the GSTC
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is a global initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism efforts around the world. The GSTC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that works to expand understanding of and access to sustainable tourism practices; helps identify and generate markets for sustainable tourism; and educates about and advocates for a set of universal principles, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The Criteria, a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for the sustainability of tourism businesses across the globe, is the cornerstone of our initiative. For more information, visit www.gstcouncil.org.
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