Google has started showcasing accommodation businesses’ ECO Certification status on its listings, just days before the start of October – the month in which Ecotourism Australia officially celebrates its 30th birthday.
The move comes in response to an increasing traveller demand for sustainable travel options and a call for greater transparency from an industry plagued by greenwashing.
Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program is listed among 29 third party certification programs worldwide acknowledged as meeting Google’s sustainability standards. These standards include certification agencies using globally recognised and reputed criteria, assessing accommodations on at least the four categories of energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and sustainable sourcing, and conducing on-site audits.
Ecotourism Australia Chair, Claire Ellis, said it was another great opportunity for Ecotourism Australia’s members to stand out in the global market.
“Both domestically and internationally, sustainability is becoming much more important to our visitors. With our planned domestic border openings and resumption of international travel, this recognition of quality from one of the industry’s heavyweights will give our Ecotourism Australia members – especially our 110 certified accommodations – a great boost at a time when they really need it,” she said.
There has been a rapid growth in certification applications across the tourism industry as operators recognise the growing consumer demand for real change in this area. Accommodation properties spread across much of regional Australia will now be labelled ‘Eco-certified’ in Google search results, with a leaf-shaped icon and more information about the property’s sustainability initiatives in the ‘About’ tab.