Can the Coast become a certified ECO Destination?

Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures

The Central Coast’s journey to becoming a certified ECO Destination is progressing in leaps and bounds, according to Central Coast Council, with an additional 10 local nature-based businesses receiving funding to pursue certification.

The council says ECO Destination Certification will ensure the Central Coast is recognised as a world-class location for sustainable and nature-based tourism and provide a substantial boost to the local economy.

Seeking certification are: Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, Calga; Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP; Canton Beach Paddleshack; Elixir Journeys, Bouddi National Park; Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, Glenworth Valley; Grace Springs Farm, Kulnura; Iris Lodge Alpacas, Jilliby; Jake Cassar Bushcraft, Brisbane Water National Park; Rocky Trail Entertainment, Lake Munmorah; and Terrigal Ocean Tours, Terrigal and Broken Bay.

Central Coast Council Director Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, Natalia Cowley, said it was exciting to see so many local operators welcomed into the program.

“We are working with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia to achieve ECO Destination Certification by World Environment Day in June 2022,” Cowley said.

“Nature-based tourism businesses on the Coast were recently invited to submit an EOI seeking support to pursue formal recognition as an ecotourism provider.

“Through a fully-funded partnership with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia, these businesses will receive mentoring throughout their certification journey, as well as a $500 funding incentive to assist with the first year of the process.”

The Central Coast has the largest regional cohort of certified or seeking certification businesses.

If successful in achieving certification, new program members will join the Central Coast’s existing cohort of ECO certified operators – AquaFun Avoca Lake, Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Noonaweena in the hinterland, and TreeTops Adventure Park in Ourimbah State Forest.

Chief Executive at Ecotourism Australia, Rod Hillman, said the Central Coast is an outstanding candidate to become a certified ECO Destination.

“The Central Coast has well managed and extensive protected areas, a strong environmental ethic within the community and Council, and high quality existing ecotourism experiences,” Hillman said.

“Ecotourism Australia visited the Central Coast in May to launch the region’s journey to become a certified ECO Destination with regional stakeholders and announce an incentive program to create and build new ecotourism products in the region.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said the support of Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia will ensure the region fulfills its potential as an eco-destination of choice.

“The Central Coast has an abundance of world-class, nature-based tourist attractions and this sees us well-placed to attract an increasing number of visitors seeking sustainable travel experiences,” Hart said.

The ECO Destination Certification program is fully funded by WWF-Australia as part of their Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.

Media release, Jul 21
Central Coast Council