Ecotourism Australia has signed an historic partnership agreement with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) this month, cementing its position as a global leader in the field of sustainable and nature-based tourism and setting the stage for increased collaboration between the two organisations.

The partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and Ecotourism Australia Chair Dr Claire Ellis, sets out key areas of collaboration including:

  • Exchanging information on how national policies promote nature-based tourism and ecotourism
  • Collection, compilation and analysis of statistics on nature-based tourism and ecotourism
  • Cooperation on other areas such as UNWTO’s activities in South Pacific countries in relation to sustainability, nature-based tourism and climate change

“Ecotourism Australia is working closely with Australia’s nature-based tourism operators, destinations, protected area management agencies and government to help deliver social and environmental improvements to our regions, said Dr Ellis.

“As global tourism grows, sustainability in our sector is more important than ever. 

“With our increased focus on climate action, destination-wide certification and pursuing partnerships to deliver things that really matter to our members, we are excited to be entering into this partnership with the world’s leading tourism authority and look forward to working closely together over the coming months.”

The partnership will also be an opportunity for Australia to re-engage with UNWTO, the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of sustainable development through tourism.

“Tourism regularly outgrows the world economy and international trade. We not only have the responsibility to face up to the development challenge, we also have a real opportunity to deliver. UNWTO is very happy to partner with Ecotourism Australia to further advance tourism as a partner of the three pillars of sustainability – environment, economy, and society,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. 

As Australia’s ecotourism industry’s national advocate and standard setter, Ecotourism Australia continues to work closely with its international and national partner organisations to deliver world leading certification programs and drive value for its members. 

For more information about Ecotourism Australia, visit the Ecotourism Australia website:

For more information about UNWTO, visit the UNWTO website:


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For questions and comments, please contact: Rod Hillman, CEO – 0427 279 414


It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again: the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), Australia’s largest annual travel and tourism business-to-business event, is just around the corner.

The Tourism Australia event, to be held this year in Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre from 8 – 12 April, will be attended by around 1,500 Australian sellers from 550 companies, 650 key buyer delegates from over 30 countries and 70 international and Australian media.

Whether you’re a seasoned ATE veteran or a first-time attendee, we believe these top tips will help you to maximise your return on investment for the event in 2019.

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1. Know why you’re going

It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a key one. Why are you attending ATE in 2019? Is it to connect with new markets, reconnect with existing partners, showcase new product? Are there any other people you want to meet with while you’re in Perth? These things are all worth a thought before you go.

2. Be organised

It’s no joking matter: ATE is busy. Planning carefully – well in advance – what you’ll need to take, how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to do once you get there, as well as preparing your appointment schedule, will prevent countless headaches and stressful moments once you’re there. Once you’re in Perth, get to the convention centre early, make sure your booth is set up how you want it, go over your plan of attack for the week and – of course – determine which State has the best coffee so that you can minimise running time in between appointments!

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3. Know your markets

Who are your current target markets, and who do you want to attract in the future? Do you know what these markets are looking for, and how your product suits their needs? Do as much research as you can before you meet with a potential buyer, so that your conversations are focused, tailored and purposeful. Tourism Australia has some great resources that can help with this (see example below).

4. Get cultured

Relationship building at ATE often involves interacting with buyers from various cultures. Have you ever considered the power of learning just a few words of another language, to help break the ice and create a memorable experience with the buyers you’re meeting with? We suggest common phrases like hello, welcome, how are you and thank you are probably more appropriate and useful than I’d like a beer, please (keep that one for the networking sessions). 

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5. Tailor your networking

Let’s face it – the time you have between buyer and seller appointments can be extremely limited, and after repeating the same 15-minute spiel 25 times a day, it can be seem like an effort to wander off and network. We suggest prioritising finding other members of the Ecotourism Australia tribe and catching up on what’s happening in the ecotourism world – it’s a world driven strongly by passionate people who likely share your values, so you may find yourself carried off in all sorts of wonderful, inspiring conversations over lunch!

6. Take the opportunity to stay up to date

This year, Ecotourism Australia will be attending ATE as a Buyer only. Our CEO Rod and Communications and Audit Manager Lina look forward to catching up with you in Perth to:

  • Better understand the key issues your business is facing, so that we can represent your needs to our industry partners,
  • Update you on how we’re ensuring you stay ahead of the game through things like revising our certification criteria to meet scientific and market demand, growing the business case for sustainable tourism and taking climate action seriously
  • Share the key trends, topics and discussions that we’re seeing in our industry to reassure you that what you’re doing is making a difference

If you haven’t already, do make sure you lock in an appointment with us, as we’d love to check in with you and see how we can add even more value to your Ecotourism Australia membership.

Do you have any tips on how to make the most of your attendance at ATE? Tell us in the comments below!

For a little extra help, check out these great resources:

See you in Perth in 6 weeks!

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