The Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Planet Happiness Sign MOU

Planet Happiness and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have signed a partnership agreement focused on strengthening sustainability standards in tourism and impact reporting in tourism destinations. They will work together to promote mutual understanding of each other’s work among their members and partners.  They will also engage on a range of topics related to […]

The post The Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Planet Happiness Sign MOU appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Adventure Green Alaska is now a GSTC-Recognized Standard

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announced that the Adventure Green Alaska Standards for Accommodations and for Tour-Operators have achieved the ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.  Adventure Green Alaska began in 2007 as a statewide effort to grow sustainable tourism in Alaska and promote model businesses practicing economic, environmental and social sustainability. It is Alaska’s only sustainable tourism certification program and was created entirely by volunteers. The program came under the Alaska Travel Industry Association in 2015, whose goal was to grow the program


Flipping conventional ideas on their heads, Compass Business Advisory strongly believes that compliance doesn’t have to be a barrier for business. In fact, this company believes it can be a great business enabler when properly understood. That’s why Compass Business Advisory’s goal is to make a complex subject simple and easy to understand, helping businesses by offering timely and practical advice on how to use compliance as a guiding light towards success.

As big fans of the ecotourism industry, Compass Business Advisory also promotes becoming ECO certified as a great business development tool. Educating clients on the potential benefits of becoming ECO certified and offering services to help operators find the right certification program for their business, Compass Business Advisory assists operators with the application process from start to finish.

Compass Business Advisory’s experience lies in designing compliance solutions and management systems that are not only tangible for each client’s unique organisational culture but that will help the client achieve the lasting performance improvements required to stay compliant and meet certification requirements. For owner and self-made entrepreneur Kathleen Dale, that has always been the goal – to help small and medium sized businesses to achieve compliance with accountability, structure, and processes that provide them with wider experience and insight.


“It is not the people that work the hardest that achieve success,” says Kathleen, “It is the people that work the smartest!”

Using her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce (majoring in business) and years of experience working in heavily regulated industries (including roles in the financial, marine and engineering sectors), Kathleen utilised her expertise and drive to establish Compass Business Advisory – a team of honest, professional and inspired advisors to organisations in the private sector.

Thanks to Compass Business Advisory, there are now plenty of businesses across Australia able to maintain a compliant and sustainable business that protects the interests of not only its customers, staff, directors, and stakeholders – but also the environment.

We are happy to welcome Compass Business Advisory to our Ecotourism Australia family as a Business Member.


Interested in becoming an Ecotourism Australia Business Member? Find out more here.


With spring just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your next holiday on the water. To help you out we’ve found a few of the more adventurous water-based ecotourism experiences that our incredible Ecotourism Australia certified tour operators have on offer. Prepare to be inspired!


 Great Ocean Surf Tours Water Article

Photo Credit: Great Ocean Roads Surf Tours.

Passionate about people, nature and all things surfing, the staff at Great Ocean Road Surf Tours want to take you on the ultimate ride.

Great Ocean Roads Surf Tours make learning how to surf and improving your surfing an easy, fun and unforgettable experience, with lessons and tours that can be tailored to individual or group needs, wants and skill levels.

For beginners, the 1-Day Surf Tour is a great place to start. You’ll learn about beach and ocean awareness before being given an easy to follow, detailed surf lesson with hands-on coaching. For the more experienced surfers out there looking to improve their ability, there is Next Level Surf Coaching. This option includes surf coaching and video analysis in half day, full day, squad coaching and weekend camps. How awesome!

So, if you’ve always wanted to give surfing a go or you want to take your surfing to the next level, look no further. Check out their website for more information.


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Photo Credit: Adventure Bay Charters.

To all you thrill seekers out there, why not join Adventure Bay Charters for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Australia’s legendary great white sharks?

Offering a unique, all-inclusive eco-alternative to traditional shark cage diving, Adventure Bay Charters were Australia’s first Advanced Ecotourism certified white shark tour and shark cage diving experience, using MUSIC to attract sharks to its vessel, instead of traditional baits and berleys.

Why music? Because caring for the sharks and the marine environment is one of Adventure Bay Charters’ top priorities. By using music instead of food to lure these majestic creatures, not only do visitors get the opportunity to rock out with an apex predator, but it’s much less harmful to the sharks. Unlike baits and berleys, music encourages sharks to investigate without becoming aggravated. This prevents unnecessary physical harm caused to sharks by attacking the shark cage and boat.

So, don’t wait around! With their small group sizes and the world’s first world’s first aqua sub, Adventure Bay Charters can offer participants multiple diving opportunities and the best chance of seeing sharks in the wild.


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Photo Credit: Nitmiluk Tours.

Winding along 12km of sheer rock and extending more than 70m high, Nitmiluk Gorge is a breathtaking maze of waterways, sculpted into the landscape over millions of years by the incredible Katherine River.

Nitmiluk Tours is an operator in the area that specialises in experiences that explore the Nitmiluk Gorge, immersing visitors in the history, rugged beauty and culture of the Northern Territory.

One of the most exciting ways Nitmiluk Tours allows you to get up close and personal with the mesmerising Nitmiluk Gorge is by allowing you to canoe your way through its many wonders. With single and twin canoes available for half day or full day hire, visitors can go out and enjoy the tranquillity, either by themselves or with family and friends.

As a world-renowned destination for Australian wildlife and Indigenous history, some other amazing opportunities and activities to check out whilst you’re in the Nitmiluk National Park include: Nitmiluk Gorge Cruises, the Footsteps of our Ancestors tour and the Nitmiluk Caravan and Camping sites.

For more information on Nitmiluk Tours, check out their website


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Photo Credit: RNR White Water Rafting.

RnR White Water Rafting are white water rafting specialists here in Australia, offering breath-taking scenery and five-star rafting experiences on Queensland’s Barron and Tully Rivers.

With no experience necessary, RnR is a fun and exciting activity for the whole family, and a great way to discover the pristine rainforest and beautiful rivers of Tropical North Queensland.

Something else that’s great about RnR is that they have departures all year round. So, if now isn’t the perfect time for you to go on holiday, don’t worry! The rapids aren’t going anywhere or closing anytime soon. Just jump online and pick a date/time that works best for you. 



 Cairns Dive Centre FB

Photo Credit: Cairns Dive Centre.

Proudly operating throughout the Great Barrier Reef and Fitzroy Island along the beautiful coast of Queensland, Cairns Dive Centre is one of the largest scuba training agencies in the world. Offering day cruises and live aboard trips for snorkelers and divers as well as dive courses from open water to dive instructor.

So, whether you’re wanting to do a Day trip to Fitzroy Island, Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, sign-up for a Learn to Dive Course or just looking to further your diving education, Cairns Dive Centre has you covered.

Let them take you on an adventure full of beautiful hard and soft corals, great drop-offs, exciting walls and spectacular swim-throughs. Not to mention, if you’re lucky, you may even get to see some of the reef’s spectacular local wildlife. Who wouldn’t love to see some clown fish, stingrays, reef sharks and turtles!


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Photo Credit: Discovery One.

If you prefer to adventure without getting your feet wet, Discovery One will take you on an unforgettable experience, allowing you to discover the Kimberley Coasts’ unspoilt wilderness from the safety and comfort of a vessel.

Visitors are given the opportunity to explore ancient rock art and geological wonders, magnificent waterfalls, stunning sunsets, picturesque rock pools, curious wildlife, secret beaches and so much more! With special up-close experiences, and a marvellously comfortable, relaxed feel that’s only made possible by small group sizes and the use of a beautiful catamaran (25ft), instead of a larger cruise ship, you’re sure to learn something new and get a new understanding of this special part of the world.

So, do yourself a favour, and find out how to book your very own Kimberley Cruise now.




MEDIA RELEASE: Ecotourism in Australia delivers over 14,000 direct jobs and $1.6 billion annual revenue

Australia’s ecotourism industry directly employs over 14,000 people and contributes a combined annual revenue of $1.6 billion, according to findings of an Ecotourism Australia membership analysis this week.

These figures, drawn from Ecotourism Australia’s 500 high standard tour operator members, translate to a 54% increase in jobs and a 14% increase in annual revenue in the past two years.
“Ninety-six per cent of our members operate in rural and regional Australia, so these numbers clearly demonstrate the positive impact ecotourism businesses are having in regions, said Ecotourism Australia CEO, Rod Hillman.
“These are real jobs that encourage people to stay in our regions, invest in regions and build our communities.”
On a state basis Queensland remains a strong leader, with ongoing good growth in revenue and job creation, and Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia also showing solid growth.
“The growth in jobs over the past two years is truly remarkable, with states like South Australia doubling its job numbers,” says Rod Hillman. “All states have increased their employment by between 20% and 100%.”
Other findings from the analysis include:

  • Victoria and the Northern Territory have slipped slightly in annual revenue but have made improvements in job creation – Victoria by 80% and the Northern Territory by 19%
  • Tasmania has shown a dramatic 40% growth in revenue and an 18% increase in employment
  • Western Australia had an 11% increase in revenue with a strong employment increase of 40%
  • New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory had steady revenue growth of 23% and the same growth in employment
  • Queensland had solid employment growth of 64% with annual revenue growing by 18%
  • South Australia has doubled its employment and grown its annual revenue by 18%

In summary, Rod Hillman notes, “ecotourism is an important contributor to sustainable and thriving regional communities. Ecotourism businesses create and maintain sustainable employment and bring – and keep – revenue in regions.”




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

To download our media toolkit, please visit


Congratulations to the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (CCMDC) for achieving Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certification for their Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Schools Program and Wings, Whales and Wildflower Tours!

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre focuses on research and educational resourcing to create greater understanding and appreciation of catchments, coasts and oceans within the community. The centre delivers a range of high quality innovative and interactive educational programs, activities and experiences and has a café, book and gift shop and runs a community support group.

CCMDC 1 adult education

It also runs a range of activities for children, such as ‘Become a Junior Marine Scientist.’ Talks are often given in the evening by experts on marine topics such as shipwrecks, heritage, diving, fish and other creatures of the oceans and estuaries, and staff are always keen to share their passion and commitment to sustainability principles with their visitors.

Parklife, the café within the centre, focuses on clean eating for kids, organic coffee and having no processed foods. It actively promotes upcycling and recycling and food scraps are composted for the edible garden or given away as part of their #soupdaddy project to feed the Central Coast’s homeless.

CCMDC 1 kids excursion

CCMDC’s Schools Program includes a range of fieldwork and excursion programs for both primary and secondary school students. These programs allow children to learn about marine life and the importance of taking care of the environment. For high schools, outcomes are based on syllabus requirements related to science and geography and the teaching of field skills through learning about local ecosystems. Both school programs are led by qualified CCMDC staff.

Participants of the centre’s Wings, Whales and Wildflower tour have the opportunity to observe, learn about and enjoy the coast by land or sea. Taking groups to the nearby national parks, reserves and waterways, these tours showcase the dynamic and changing nature of the seasons on the Central Coast. All tours include an activity or walk, a hot lunch, an expert talk and the opportunity to see local flora and fauna.

CCMDC 1 crab

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre has become a valuable education resource for both local and visiting schools through its school programs, a developing hub for research activity and a key tourist attraction for the Central Coast. It is operated and maintained by more than 50 active volunteers and occasional paid teachers.

Once again, we welcome CCMDC to the Ecotourism Australia family, and congratulate them on achieving certification!


For more information about CCMDC, check out their listing in our Green Travel Guide, as well as their website and Facebook page.


[Photos: Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre Facebook page]