Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Ximena Alvis is one of the four candidates of the Ecotourism Australia – University of Queensland PhD scholarships, working on the sustainable destinations topic. Ximena just finished the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) as part of her PhD’s research phase and shares her thoughts on this course that she says offers practical insights and effective steps to help participants improve their sustainability practices.

EA: Why did you decide to take part in this training?

XA: I always wanted to do the GSTC course but now it seemed even more appropriate to understand how the criteria works, especially the destination criteria, as this is my PhD topic. I believe having a better understanding of the value of these principles and criteria will help me understand the whole picture, and how important the engagement of stakeholders is in a destination in order to have a long but successful journey of sustainability.

EA: Who is the Global Sustainable Tourism Council?

XA: As per the GSTC website: “The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.” (GSTC website:

EA: Who participates in GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program?

XA: In the one month online course that I took, there were over 40 participants from all over the world, and from different parts of the tourism industry: tour operators, hotel personnel, government officials, students, tourism consultants, entrepreneurs, academics, and more. The course was eye opening in many ways. For example, the course gave us the opportunity to keep updated with the topic of sustainable tourism and the efforts that organizations, governments, the industry and academics are making. We also learnt how sustainability helps ‘Build Back Better’ and can help improve the way tourism is working. There is recognition that sustainability is a long but necessary journey to take on, especially in this COVID era.

EA: What kinds of topics did the course cover?

XA: The course gave an overview of the sustainable tourism principles and the roles of the GSTC in promoting the adoption of those principles, as well as key considerations for addressing sustainability challenges. These include stakeholder engagement, education, communications, capacity building, environmental impacts, visitor satisfaction and how to ensure local culture and traditions are incorporated into visitor experiences in a respectful manner.

EA: Would you recommend this training program to others?

XA: I would highly recommend Ecotourism Australia members to take the course if they haven’t already. It is a great opportunity to make new professional contacts with people that have the same sustainable goals as EA members, and to keep updated with information and new discoveries in the sustainable world.

Course details:

The GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism runs 5 to 6 times a year, the training classes are twice a week (1 hour per day) in a 4-week online course. The cost depends in membership and time of enrolment, from US$ 395 to US$ 495. For more information visit: or contact [email protected].




Mindful Travel Solutions is a small travel agency with a difference. Under the motto of ‘by travelling the world, we can make a world of difference,’ this company, run by passionate traveller Amanda, focuses on providing travel memories that last a lifetime while preserving the things travellers love most about the places they visit – the people, animals and environment.

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While Mindful Travel Solutions provide travel agency services for worldwide adventures, they specialise in eco stays in Australia and Asia and donate 10% of all their profits to Cambodian charities focused on creating educational opportunities and scholarships, protecting against child trafficking and providing food and supplies to those in need.

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Amanda has over a decade of travel sales experience and a degree in international development, making her the perfect person to ensure her clients’ holidays leave lasting positive memories, not lasting negative impacts. She cares deeply about both her clients and the destinations she sends them to, and it’s this focus on genuine care and connection which sets her travel agency apart.

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Based in Melbourne but easily contactable online, Mindful Travel Solutions offers genuine, personalised service, flexible payment options and a fantastic option for those seeking memorable, ethical and responsible travel experiences.

To find out more, visit the Mindful Travel Solutions website.


[Images: Mindful Travel Solutions]



Congratulations to BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort for achieving Ecotourism Certification!

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is located in Airlie Beach and offers self-contained holiday cabins as well as camping and caravan sites. The family-owned business is one of Queensland’s leading resort holiday parks with onsite activities for the whole family.

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For BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, preserving and protecting the area’s ecosystems and natural resources is a priority. The resort has an on-site nursery that propagates every plant used throughout the park. You can find plants like neem tress across the resort, a native deterrent for sandflies, as well as numerous flowering tropical trees and shrubs to attract native butterflies and birdlife.

Local residents include wallabies, bandicoots, ducks and green tree frogs and the resort is committed to educating guests on how to not interfere with wildlife, encouraging them to only take photos.

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The resort provides a true eco experience by offering a wide variety of eco-friendly activities and accommodation options. Accommodation options range from traditional camping and caravan sites to budget-friendly cabins and luxurious condos.

When in the resort, immerse yourself in gardens with thousands of plants used to create an enchanted tropical wonderland, enjoy enormous outdoor balconies and the brand new waterslide park.   

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BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is committed to sustainable practices throughout the management of its business following the ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ principle.  Its dedication to reducing emissions is accomplished by the use of bikes for transport where possible, electric buggies, low flow shower heads, and a solar roof mounted system on the conference centre and maintenance shed roofs to generate power.

Congratulations again on joining the Ecotourism Australia family!

For more information about BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort visit their website or Facebook page.


[All photos thanks to BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort]


Congratulations to Yarra River Cruises for achieving ECO Certification at the Ecotourism level.

Whether you’re local or visiting, there is no better way to see Melbourne than from the vantage of the Yarra River! Yarra River Cruises will take you on a one-hour sightseeing cruise with live commentary going upstream to Herring Island and downstream to Docklands and the Port of Melbourne. Customers can also book a two-hour cruise incorporating both cruises. Guests learn about the Melbourne’s sights, the history of the city as well as the river system.

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Established in 1987, Yarra River Cruises (formerly City River Cruises) offers sightseeing and function cruises through Melbourne’s beautiful parks, gardens, ports and Docklands aboard their corporate cruiser Melba Star.

Accommodating between 20 to 160 passengers, Yarra River Cruises caters for corporate events, river transfers, weddings, Christmas functions, educational school excursions, daily sightseeing cruises and many more. Yarra River Cruises also offers charters to major sporting events, including the Spring Racing Carnival, AFL football events, and to Rod Laver Arena.

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Yarra River Cruises aims to continually reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability of its operations. The team educates tourists traveling aboard its vessels to enhance their knowledge in environmental sustainability and develop an appreciation for the environment, the Yarra River and surrounding ecosystems. Whilst the managing team is committed to recycle, save water and reduce energy consumption, environmentally conscious guides advise patrons on the importance of clean river systems before every departure. Moreover, the team promotes the use of Parks Victoria’s litter traps to further consolidate the importance of clean rivers and to prevent rubbish entering the oceans.

Congratulations again to Yarra River Cruises for achieving Ecotourism Certification!

For more information please visit their website and Facebook page.

Tourism Futures in the 2030 Agenda: Innovation and Sustainability as the New Normal – United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2020

Join Us!   The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) presents its event Tourism Futures in the 2030 Agenda: Innovation and Sustainability as the New Normal in the framework of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2020 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). During this session, attendees will have […]


With a landmass of more than 7.6 million square kilometres, Australia is the planet’s sixth largest country and therefore has a great variety of landscapes to explore. The country’s vastness also means that travelling to the next destination can mean we have to spend quite a bit of time on the road.

But driving long distances can be great fun and there are unique experiences out there just waiting to be discovered, which can make these driving adventures even more memorable and special. If you decide to take a long drive for your next holiday, stopping off at some new spots will add more diversity to your vacation and will give a better understanding of and appreciation for the land you are driving through.

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Photo: Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre / Facebook

For example, 15 minutes south of Alice Springs you’ll find Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certified Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre. The family business, set on a 100-acre protected area wilderness reserve, is focused on ecology and sustainability and offers one of the most magical sky observation programs in the world.

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Photo: Innamincka Hotel / Facebook

If you’re in South Australia and driving north, another great example of an experience you can’t have anywhere else is playing mini golf in the outback at Ecotourism certified Innamincka Hotel before sitting down to enjoy a moonlit cinema experience or karaoke night.

You can see the desert come alive at Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certified Alice Springs Desert Park and hear the stories of plants, animals, and local Aboriginal culture at daily guide presentations.

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Photo: Alice Springs Desert Park / Facebook

In Western Australia, north of Carnarvon, sits Nature Tourism certified Gnaraloo Station – a remote sheep station famous for its stunning coastline, wildlife, fishing, waves and wind. It seems like you can do it all here: swim, snorkel or dive on the Ningaloo Reef and walk and explore the area. After a day full of adventures relax at Gnaraloo Homestead and enjoy the amazing sunset.

And while you are now hopefully already planning to spend some time on the road, you can add some more adventure to your transportation: Nature Tourism certified Maui, Britz & Mighty Motorhomes & Campervans offer a wide range of motorhomes and campervans. These will bring you safely to your destination, whether it’s from Perth to Broome or Adelaide to Alice Springs. And they give you the chance to spontaneously spend the night at your favourable destination spot!

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Photo: Gnaraloo Station / Facebook

For more travel inspiration for your next Australian road trip adventure, check out our Green Travel Guide.


[Header image: Maui, Britz & Mighty Motorhomes & Campervans / Facebook]