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

NY Times Calls Travelers to look for GSTC-Accredited Certification Bodies: How to Be a Green Traveler

“The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) [accredits] certification programs for hotels and tour operators […]. Travelers can visit their site to see lists of these programs, which include The Rainforest Alliance and Earth Check, and hotels that are [certified] will typically show a certification logo on their own websites and marketing materials.” Read the full article: How to Be a Green Traveler by By Justin […]

The post NY Times Calls Travelers to look for GSTC-Accredited Certification Bodies: How to Be a Green Traveler appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).


Every ecotourism hero has their own unique way of inspiring others, and for Tracey Larkin, owner of Mt Barney Lodge, it’s about normalising eco-behaviours.

Whether she’s giving guests an impromptu tour of the property to show them the Glossy Black Cockatoo she’s managed to attract with her 110 feed trees (planted onsite in partnership with the Glossy Black Conservancy in 2009 in an effort to help conserve this threatened species); explaining her 3-bay commercial composting bay to someone showing interest (which composts 100% of Mt Barney’s green waste) or sharing cuttings and seedlings with guests (who promise to bring their own favourite cutting in return when they next visit), Tracey is a natural at sharing her love for nature with others.

Glossy Black Cockatoo MT Barney Lodge

“I strive to give guests practical examples of everyday eco actions that they can learn about onsite, then implement when they get home,” she says.

This passion extends beyond her guests to also impact the local community: a couple of months ago, Tracey instigated the involvement of Mt Barney Lodge in the ShareWaste economy, a platform which brings together people who have kitchen scraps with those who have ways to compost them.

share waste no word MT Barney

Now, on top of composting all of the lodge and campsite’s own paper waste, garden waste, weeds and horse poo, Mt Barney Lodge also composts the food waste, cardboard and paper of other businesses in the local Boonah region. And it’s bringing the community together:

“We saw an opportunity to help [Hummingbirds Pantry and Café in Boonah] to close the loop in their business practices, as well as providing a leading example that other businesses in town and the wider Scenic Rim Council area could follow… ultimately, we want to show others that you can turn waste into new soil rather than adding yet another pile to landfill.” – so Mt Barney’s news page.

View of Mt Maroon at Mt Barney Lodge

As if rallying a town around joint composting wasn’t enough, Tracey’s ‘eco hero’ actions also include implementing a ‘low carbon diet’ with tourist operators in the region to decrease their carbon footprint and creating and managing the 2011 ‘Protesters on Peaks’ action in the Scenic Rim to stop the introduction of coal and coal seam gas.

She also ensured that single use soft plastic recycling was implemented in all of Mt Barney Lodge’s buildings from 2017 and launched a single-use plastic water bottle-free July for all Mt Barney Lodge guests in 2018, which saw plastic water bottle rubbish decrease by 95%.

Mt Barney Lodge stars at night

At every juncture, Tracey welcomes the suggestions of her team, and gladly delegates specific actions to staff members according to their own strengths and talents.

“The outcome is what’s most important,” she says.

Thank you, Tracey, for all that you do for your local community and environment, and for the leadership you show to your team and everyone around you.

Mt Barney lodge house in night light

For more information on Mt Barney Lodge, visit their website or Facebook page.

For more information on our other Everyday Ecotourism Heroes, check out the other articles in this series:

Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!

Have we piqued your interest in travelling sustainably? Make sure you check out our Green Travel Guide and news page for some eco travel inspiration!


Congratulations to Swell Lodge on achieving Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certification for their Swell Lodge and Nature Tours!

Swell Lodge is a low-impact set of elegant, completely off-grid, 100% solar-powered, glass-fronted, raised luxury safari eco-chalets.  Nestled in the Christmas Island National Park, surrounded by wildlife and overlooking the ever-changing ocean, Swell Lodge provides guests with a variety of signature experiences during their stay.

Chris Bray Swell Lodge

Devoted to emission mitigation without sacrificing room convenience and comfort, Swell Lodge uses the latest in technology: Each of the eco-chalets in Swell Lodge is 100% solar powered (saving over 750kgs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year) and to handle the heat and humid weather on the island, air-conditioners are substituted by energy efficient, high-output ceiling fans in each eco-chalet, saving an additional 1,500kgs of CO2 annually, compared to staying in a regular hotel room.

Swell Lodge also features purely solar-heated hot water, a modern odourless composting toilet, crab-safe vehicle attachments and a carbon-offset program realised through Greenfeet with native trees planted to offset the CO2 emissions from lodge vehicles. Guests are involved in climate action through a smartphone app which helps them track their power usage during their stay in Swell Lodge.

chris bray swell lodge 14

Swell Lodge also provides guided walks and other nature tours and experiences for their guests to enjoy the unique natural scenery of Christmas Island. Guests can choose from several guided walks of different length, difficulty and featuring a variety of points of interest, go snorkelling or diving, enjoy a movie under the stars or get some photography experience with Swell Lodge owners, award-winning Australian Geographic photographer Chris Bray and his wife Jess, and the team.

In addition, Swell Lodge also participates in the conservation of local habitats of Christmas Island, including regular beach clean up events and monetary donations to Christmas Island National Parks’ Bird Rehabilitation Centre & Lizard Lounge. Guests are also encouraged to contribute to the conservation activities during their stay.

chris bray swell lodge more 14

We are excited to welcome Swell Lodge to Ecotourism Australia and once again congratulate them on their achievement!

For more information about Swell Lodge, visit their website or Facebook page

Paul and Robyn visit photos 31


When your tourism business provides such great visitor experiences that it inspires your guests to write poetry*, you know you must be onto a good thing.

It’s something that comes naturally to Whitsunday Segway Tours’ owner/operator Zak Kelly – after all, his business is built on a combined 40 years of tourism experience.

However, whilst experience and knowledge are certainly key factors in running a successful business, continuous improvement and innovation are also beneficial. And this is exactly what Zak’s wife Vhari, describes her husband as being good at:

“In three words, Zak is an innovator, passionate and dedicated,” she says.

Whitsunday Segway Tours 7 FB

She also explains that since starting the business five years ago, Zak has always strived to make it more environmentally friendly and suitable for eco-friendly and environmentally conscious clientele.

“He’s always implementing environmentally friendly practices, she says.

“Each year the business is entered into the local tourism awards in the Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Category [and] this encourages Zak to innovate and continually introduce new eco-friendly practices into the business.

“Some of these practices include using reusable containers in the morning tea packs on tour, using a water repellent layer on the Segway to reduce cleaning and using an air compressor to remove surface dust, rather than washing with water regularly.”

Whitsunday Segway Tours 3 FB

Zak’s keen interest in running his business in a sustainable way is also communicated to his guests. When explaining the functionality of the Segway, Zak always promotes the fact that the vehicles create zero emissions and ensures that guests do not leave any rubbish in the rainforest. He also ensures that his guests walk away from the experience not only with new skills but more knowledge on the local flora and fauna:

“Being born and bred in Airlie, Zak was abundant in local knowledge and had a true appreciation for the area,” said guest Anita J on TripAdvisor. Other guests agree, with reviews frequently commenting ton Zak’s knowledge of the local flora, fauna and history.

Zak’s enthusiasm also flows over to his team, with whom he has regular meetings to discuss plans for making his business even more sustainable.

Whitsunday Segway Tours 8 FB

Whitsundays Segway Tours achieved Ecotourism Certification in August 2018 and already have plans to upgrade this and include more eco-friendly practices into their business, such as monitoring and offsetting their carbon emissions and charging their Segways with renewable energy.

For more information on Whitsunday Segway Tours, visit their website or Facebook page.

Thank you to Whitsunday Segway Tours, particularly nominator, Vhari Kelly and nominee, Zak Kelly, for being part of our Everyday Ecotourism Heroes article series!

Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!

Have we piqued your interest in travelling sustainably? Make sure you check out our Green Travel Guide and news page for some eco travel inspiration!


*We weren’t kidding about the poetry:

TripAdvisor poem

Skyscanner Recommends GSTC: How to be an eco-traveller (and still have it all)

“To find a destination that’s officially certified as taking sustainability issues seriously, visit the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) website.” Read the full article: How to be an eco-traveller (and still have it all) by By Suzanne King on Skyscanner (February 4, 2019) Confused about the terms “certification”, “recognition”, “accreditation”? Watch this short video.

The post Skyscanner Recommends GSTC: How to be an eco-traveller (and still have it all) appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).


Over the last 12 months, EA has been conducting a comprehensive review of the ECO Certification program to simplify the application process and ensure our criteria accurately reflects current global best practice standards for sustainable, minimal impact tourism. Routine reviews of the criteria are vital for maintaining the integrity of our programs.

The review is in its final stages of completion and implementation of the revised criteria will commence in coming months. You can expect to see:

  • changes in how guidance has been integrated into the application process,
  • stronger criteria around minimising the carbon footprint of your business as well as access to simple online carbon measurement tools,
  • more inclusive criteria around accessibility,
  • better integration of expectations for GBRMPA’s high standard tourism operator program,
  • general updates on industry standards, and
  • a more logical criteria framework that facilitates planning and business development.

New and current applicants can expect to have access to the reviewed ECO Certification program by end March 2019. Current certified operators are expected to be rolled over to the revised program alongside the implementation of our new online certification portal, planned for launch from mid-2019, and with help through our routine audit processes.

No action is required by current certified operators at this time, and further information will be circulated as we progress closer to launch.

For more information, contact our Operations Manager Emily Ellis on 07 3256 6777 or [email protected].