Incentive scheme launched for eco certification
East Gippsland tour operators and businesses looking to tap into the billion-dollar ecotourism industry are being given a helping hand through an Eco Certification Incentive Scheme, with ten $500 certification incentive vouchers up for grabs.
The shire has some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world, and is aiming to be the first globally accredited ecotourism destination in Victoria, affirming the region as a nature-based tourism destination with a strong commitment to ecotourism principles.
East Gippsland Shire Council has partnered with Ecotourism Australia and the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia to offer eligible tourism businesses financial support towards gaining Ecotourism Australia accreditation.
ECO accreditation makes it easy for visitors to find genuine ecotourism operators. Ecotourism Australia offers three certification programs to recognise tourism businesses for their sustainable initiatives: ECO Certification, Sustainable Tourism Certification, and the recently launched Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard.
The partnership will see up to10 eligible businesses receive a one-time $500 incentive towards their ECO or Sustainable Tourism certification or up to $250 towards a Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard.
Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said East Gippsland’s natural diversity makes ecotourism certification a perfect fit.
“Attaining destination certification will benefit both the environment and economy by elevating our nature-based credentials on the global stage which will lead to increased visitor numbers. Local tourism operators who have taken advantage of the Eco Certification Incentive Scheme will be well placed to tap into that economy as we strengthen our domestic markets and attract international visitors who are seeking authentic and sustainable travel experiences."
The ECO and Sustainable Tourism certifications are in-depth processes that work with businesses across the key pillars of sustainability, while the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard provides a snapshot of a business’s progress towards environmental sustainability goals.
Ecotourism Australia and World Wide Fund for Nature Australia are dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices and look forward to supporting tourism businesses in their sustainability journey.
Tourism businesses interested in obtaining ECO or Sustainable Tourism certification are invited to submit an expression of interest by completing an EOI form at www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/leisure/tourism and returning it to andrewD@egipps.vic.gov.au by Friday 24 February.
For more on certification programs, visit www.ecotourism.org.au/business-certification.