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

GSTC, The Code and ECPAT International join forces to end the sexual exploitation of children by in travel and tourism

At ITB travel trade show in Berlin, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with The Code and ECPAT International to work together to expand standards for the protection of children and to take other measures to end this crime. “Sustainable tourism is on the rise, consumer demand is growing for […]

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Gender Equality on GSTC Board of Directors – According to Equality in Tourism International

According to the ‘Sun, Sand, and Ceilings: Women in Tourism and Hospitality Boardrooms – 2018 Report’ by Equality in Tourism International, the overall representations of women on travel and tourism companies/organizations boards has increased from 15% in 2013 to 23%. However, the representation of women on the GSTC Board of Directors is 50%. “Men are seen […]

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For Judith Muir of Polperro Dolphin Swims, teaching students to become custodians of their own futures is about “entertaining greatly whist educating gently.”

It is her belief in the power of education and her deep care and concern for the marine environment, particularly around beautiful Port Phillip Bay in Victoria, that has seen Judith volunteer her time and expertise to Advanced Ecotourism Certified Polperro Dolphin Swims as acting education/conservation liaison.

Judith, who has been part of the Polperro team for 33 years, says she is inspired by the business’ dedicated and talented crew:

“Polperro has long been known for its highest quality tours and authenticity,” she says, explaining that she works with the team to provide powerful educational experiences for guests.

Polperro Dolphin Swims FB 4

Volunteering on several occasions to facilitate school groups on board Polperro, as well as running follow up presentations that discuss key environmental issues facing waterways, Judith notes that it is her strong belief that we must educate and empower our youth to become custodians of the land.

Judith is also the instigator of a new program called the Canopy of Care. This program is a collective of like-minded organisations which work together to provide educational resources and on-site experiences that inform people about important environmental issues, particularly those which affect Australia’s coasts and waterways. Judy says the program is aimed to inspire and encourage young adults to take action.

“By entertaining greatly whilst educating gently, students are encouraged and resourced to become custodians of their own futures, she explains.

“Conservation through education is essential.”

Polperro Dolphin Swims FB 1

The Canopy of Care has developed and provides a number of services, including teacher resources, fieldwork activities, advice and assistance for schools running fieldwork trips at Port Phillip Bay and the Mornington Peninsula coastline, expert guest speakers for fieldwork trips or school visits, professional development opportunities for teaching staff and inspiration and support for community-based projects.

Judith is a strong believer that if people are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the environment, they will see its beauty and take the necessary actions to protect it.

Her willingness and ability to pass on her intimate knowledge of the environment and share her love of all things found in the ecosystem are part of Judith’s key pillars. That’s why she’s spent her lifetime dedicated to environmental sustainability – a value that she, through her passion and knowledge, passes onto the next generation daily.

Thank you, Judith, for all you do – and to the Polperro Dolphin Swim’s team for nominating Judith!  

Polperro Dolphin Swims FB 3

For more information on Polperro Dolphin Swims, 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 Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours for achieving Ecotourism and ROC certification for their stand-up paddle board tours and Giingan tour.

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours (WYAT) are running their tours on Gumbaynggirr land. All guides at WYAT are Aboriginal with permission from local elders. During their stand-up paddle tours, customers will not only be paddling in the beautiful Solitary island Marine Park, but also learn local stories on the Gumbaynggirr people. Depending on the tide, tours are running in three different locations and each location has its own stories. WYAT experienced guides will adjust their tours to the level of the group, hence no previous experience of stand-up paddle boarding is necessary. All tours also include bush tucker information, damper making and information on the local language.

 Wajaana Yaam SUP image 3 Facebook

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours (Facebook)

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours take great pride in keeping the Aboriginal culture alive and telling the history of Aboriginal people. Some of their profits are invested in the local Aboriginal youth through not-for profit organisation. Their award winning Giingan Walking tour is a guided bushwalk in the beautiful East State Forest. This tour provides an exceptional learning experience on the local Aboriginal culture by some of the best speakers in Gumbaynggirr country.

 Wajaana Yaam Supplied by owner 2

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours

 Wajaana Yaam Supplied by owner 4

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours purchasing locally produced products and guests are can purchase hand made products of local Aboriginal artists.

We here at Ecotourism Australia would like to extend a warm welcome to Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours!


Hotel Yearbook 2020 Sustainable Hospitality Now Released

The “Hotel Yearbook 2020 – Sustainable Hospitality” has been released and is available online for free. Along the same lines as previous editions of the Hotel Yearbook, the 2020 Sustainable Hospitality edition gathers the thoughts and research from a wide-ranging group of senior executives, analysts, consultants and opinion leaders from all over the world […]

The post Hotel Yearbook 2020 Sustainable Hospitality Now Released appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).


Ecotourism Australia certified operators have once again cleaned up at this year’s 2018 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, taking home over a quarter of all awards including six gold, nine silver and six bronze.

With 21 awards won overall, Ecotourism Australia would have come first in the awards tally if it were a State. 

CEO Rod Hillman says that he is proud, but not surprised: “Our certified operators run amazing businesses. They’re not just focused on sustainability – they’re out there delivering exceptionally high-quality experiences that their visitors can’t stop talking about.

“On top of that, they’re passionate operators who pass on their love of what they do, and of the environment, to their guests. It’s no surprise that these operators get rewarded.”

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Photo: Nitmiluk Tours / Cicada Lodge team / Qantas Australian Tourism Awards

Thirty-four Ecotourism Australia members were nominated for 38 awards across 15 categories, with Gold Awards won in the categories of Major Tour and Transport Operators, Tour and Transport Operators, Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services, Luxury Accommodation, Self-Contained Accommodation and of course, Ecotourism, the category which Ecotourism Australia sponsors.

“Ecotourism Australia has been sponsoring the Ecotourism category of the national tourism awards for the past three years,” explains Dr. Claire Ellis, Ecotourism Australia’s Chair, “and it’s great to see that every finalist was ECO Certified.

“Operators certified through our ECO Certification program deliver best practice ecotourism experiences in this country and by sponsoring this category of the awards, we ensure that this high quality is recognised and maintained.”


Fun over Fifty photo

Photo: Fun Over Fifty / Qantas Australian Tourism Awards


Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification program is one of only six certification programs worldwide which hold the international stamp of quality assurance, as they are accredited through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and independently audited. With hundreds of sustainability certification programs now available worldwide, having this international accreditation helps both tourism operators and consumers to understand the difference between genuine, rigorous certification programs and those which are not backed by genuine sustainability efforts.

Red Cat Adventures photo 2

Photo: Red Cat Adventures / Qantas Australian Tourism Awards


For more information about Ecotourism Australia and its certification programs, please visit the Ecotourism Australia website:

For more information about the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, please visit the awards website:

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



Ecotourism Australia’s Australian Tourism Award Winners 2019




State/ Territory

Ecotourism (Gold)

Fun Over Fifty



Luxury Accommodation (Gold)

Cicada Lodge at Nitmiluk Gorge

Ecotourism & ROC


Major Tour and Transport Operators


Red Cat Adventures

Advanced Ecotourism


Self-Contained Accommodation (Gold)

The Frames Luxury Accommodation



Tour and Transport Operators (Gold)

Kimberley Quest

Advanced Ecotourism


Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services (Gold)

Cicada Lodge Restaurant at Nitmiluk Gorge

Ecotourism & ROC


Adventure Tourism (Silver)

Roaring 40˚s Kayaking

Advanced Ecotourism


Cultural Tourism (Silver)

Paronella Park

Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business


Ecotourism (Silver)

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park



Hosted Accommodation (Silver)

Cobbold Village

Advanced Ecotourism


Major Tour and Transport Operators (Silver)

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Advanced Ecotourism


Qantas Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism (Silver)

Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodge

Ecotourism & Respecting our Culture (ROC)


Tour and Transport Operators (Silver)

Ocean Safari

Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Innovator


Tourist Attractions (Silver)

Capricorn Caves

Advanced Ecotourism


Unique Accommodation (Silver)

Whitsunday Escape



Adventure Tourism


Calypso Star Charters

Advanced Ecotourism


Ecotourism (Bronze)

Three Capes Track

Protected Area Manager (PAM)


Major Tourist Attractions (Bronze)

Busselton Jetty



Qantas Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism (Bronze)

Mossman Gorge Centre

Ecotourism & Respecting our Culture (ROC)


Specialised Tourism Services (Bronze)

Willie Creek Pearls at Elizabeth Quay



Visitor Information Services (Bronze)

Tourism Central Australia

Climate Action Business





After a merger of the Augusta River Association and Geographe Bay Tourism Association, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA) was established in 2015. From this merger, MRBTA can brag of having over 50 years of experience in destination marketing, customer service and natural and heritage asset management.

As a local tourism organisation, MRBTA endeavours to attract visitors to the Margaret River Region. They are currently running six tourist attractions across the region. Their attractions offer visitors to immerse themselves in an unforgettable natural experience both below and above the ground.

Lake Cave website 

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (Lake Cave)

Below the ground visitors can experience caves with different natural features. Cave tours vary depending on the level of access. Where some caves are offering from universal access where visitors can cruise around in their own pace, to adventure tours through the furthest reaches of the cave system.

Cape Naturaliste Website 

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (Cape Naturaliste)

Visitors that are looking for experiences above the ground have two magnificent lighthouses to visit. During daytime, visitors can go inside and up to the top of both lighthouses, where they will find spectacular views across beautiful landscapes. The climb at Cape Naturaliste is slight easier, whereas the climb at Cape Leeuwin is the tallest lighthouse on the mainland Australia. Both lighthouses offering visitors insight in Australian maritime history and stories of the lives of the lighthouse keepers.

Cape Leeuvin Lighthouse Website. 2 

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (Cape Leeuwin)

As an Advanced ECO certified member, MRBTA put great emphasis on investing in the conservation of the local cultural and environmental values. One example of this can be seen in that rainwater is collected and reused at all sites. Another example is when MRBTA strongly encourage their staff and visitors to re-use, recycle and reduce waste, and they are buying locally produced products to an as far extent as possible. To reduce visitor impact of natural areas, visitors are directed to boardwalks and designated walk tracks across all sites. MRBTA emphasis on community involvement can be seen in providing tree planting excursions with local schools and free access to one cave for year four classes within the region each year.

We are happy to welcome Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association as a member and would once again like to congratulate them on their achievement.


For Elizabeth Hackett, Executive Chairman of Magnums Backpackers in Airlie Beach, the 2017 cyclone was a push to consider how sustainable building materials could be used in rebuilding and how native flora could be better protected.

It’s this infectious passion and commitment to environmental sustainability that sets Elizabeth apart as an Everyday Ecotourism Hero in her colleague Anushka Denning’s eyes:

“If I could describe Elizabeth in three words, they would be positive continuous improvement,” Anushka says.

Magnums sunset 1

Noting that it was Elizabeth who pushed the team to pursue ECO Certification, even though the business had been operating in a sustainable way for years, Anushka adds that Elizabeth is always encouraging the team to think outside the box and get involved in making Magnums even more sustainable:

“[Elizabeth] not only drives the ecotourism program, but she makes suggestions and supports the ideas of all who work for the company, providing encouragement and education.

“We all feel supported to make suggestions and the entire team take ownership of wanting to better our practices through her motivation and support.”

Being well connected in the Whitsundays community, Elizabeth was part of the recovery committee that drove the clean up effort following Cyclone Debbie in 2017. She has also built a reputation in the community for being environmentally aware and someone who is always seeking to improve and sustain the natural beauty of the area.

Magnums Tip 1

Some of the sustainability initiatives Elizabeth has led have included the installation of solar, the posting of eco tips for guests, staff and the public on Magnums’ website and social media, replacing chemicals with environmentally-friendly products and planting a herb garden.

“[The herb garden] has minimised rubbish from guests who buy the pre-packaged herbs from the supermarket, explains Anushka.

“Guests love it.”

Elizabeth also supported the office manager’s suggestion to shred office paper and provide this to community groups and pet shops and assists with composting when she visits the site.

“With the aim of being a paperless office, administrative staff now think twice before they use paper for printing!” says Anushka.

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Magnums Backpackers also has signs scattered around the property which aim to boost awareness among guests of the impacts their visit can have. Recently, as Anushka notes, Magnums recruited for guest liaisons officer positions. Their job, among other tasks, is to provide information and education on ecological matters without being overbearing.

“As [Elizabeth] always says, ‘all our steps result in a giant footprint.’”

Thank you, Elizabeth, for being an Everyday Ecotourism Hero and thank you, Anushka, for your nomination!

Magnums wifi area 1

For more information on Magnums Backpackers, 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!