The Central Coast is on its way to becoming a certified ECO Destination through the Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia funded partnership.
Achieving ECO Destination certification will recognise the Central Coast as a world-class destination for sustainable, nature-based tourism.
Central Coast Council Director Connected Communities, Julie Vaughan said the Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia partnership will support the region with a two-year $30,000 package that covers all costs to progress through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination program.
“This partnership is a significant boost for our growing nature-based tourism sector here on the Coast,” Ms Vaughan said.
“The Central Coast has been selected along with five other bush fire affected destinations, including the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and Kangaroo Island in South Australia, to move toward formal recognition of our world-class eco-tourism offerings.
“We have so much to offer – stunning beaches, incredible bushwalks, picturesque hinterland, adventure activities, boutique shopping, great locally produced food, a vibrant dining scene – and ECO Destination certification will help deliver this message to a broader audience.”
Ecotourism Australia’s Chief Executive Rod Hillman said he was delighted to have new destinations joining the program.
“We are working tirelessly to support our tourism industry that has been hit hard in 2020 by bush fires and COVID and can see tangible benefits for regional tourism through this funding program,” Mr Hillman said.
“As the Central Coast offers a high number of existing ecotourism operators alongside a high proportion of national parks and protected natural spaces – the goal is to bring this all together with ECO Destination certification.”
Council Administrator, Dick Persson AM said the support of Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia would play an important role in the Central Coast’s future as a tourist destination of choice.
“It has been a year of unprecedented challenges and tourism will be key to helping the Central Coast economy to recover and flourish,” Mr Persson said.
“The Central Coast is home to a vast array of world-class, nature-based tourist attractions, and becoming ECO Destination certified will give us an internationally recognised stamp of approval and help to attract an increasing number of visitors seeking sustainable travel experiences.”
The Central Coast currently has five operators already certified with Ecotourism Australia :
TreeTops (Advanced Ecotourism and Ecotourism certified) – Ourimbah State Forest
Noonaweena (Advanced Ecotourism and Nature Tourism certified) – Kulnura
Aquafun Avoca Lake (Ecotourism certified) – Avoca Beach
Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business certified) – Terrigal
As part of the ECO Destination Certification program, additional local tourism operators will have the opportunity to pursue certification and be supported with tools to help their business become more sustainable.
Interested tourism businesses, stakeholders and the community can learn more through attending a satellite version of the 2020 Global EcoConference (based in Margaret River WA), which will be live streamed at a venue on the Central Coast from 1-3 December.