$30,000 package for EcoDestination certification program

Nature-based fun at Tree Tops Adventure Park, Wyong Creek

The Central Coast is one of six additional bushfire-affected destinations to receive support in the Build Back Better program to revitalise local economies through nature based tourism, thanks to a new partnership between Ecotourism Australia and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia.

Each destination will be supported by WWF Australia with a two-year $30,000 package that covers all costs to progress through Ecotourism Australia’s EcoDestination certification program.

It is an opportunity for tourism operators to pursue certification and become a more sustainable business, and the Central Coast will host a satellite version of the Global EcoConference in December.

Becoming a certified EcoDestination will play a key role in the Coast’s future as a tourism hub, said a Council spokesperson.

Already, there are five ecotourism certified operators on the Coast: Peak Potential Adventures at Charmhaven; Tree Tops Adventure Park at Wyong Creek; Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre at Terrigal; Noonaweena at Kulnura; and, Aqua Run Avoca Lake.

“The Coast has a lot to offer as a nature based destination and we have seen significant growth in quality ecotourism experiences across the region,” the Council spokesperson said.

“Becoming a certified EcoDestination will provide our region with the platform and internationally recognised stamp of approval to promote our eco offerings to an increasing number of visitors seeking sustainable travel experiences.”

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Rod Hillman, said that he was delighted to have Central Coast as one of the new destinations to join the Build Back Better program.

“We are working hard to support our tourism industry that has been hit hard in 2020 by bushfires and COVID-19, and we can see tangible benefits for regional tourism through this funding program,” he said.

WWF Australia CEO, Dermot O’Gorman, said the double blow of the fires and pandemic had left many communities that depended on tourism hurting like never before.

“This partnership will help the nature based tourism sector get back on its feet and support tourism activities that are good for both people and the environment,” he said.

Sue Murray