Building an ECO Destination

After 14 months of assessment BY Ecotourism Australia, the Coffs Coast has been recognised as an accredited ECO Destination. This establishes us as a world leader in environmental tourism and proves our strong, well-managed commitment to sustainability.

How does this benefit businesses?

It grows our economy

  • Ecotourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry worldwide. Our accreditation taps into this market with a clear and recognisable brand that shows we practice leading environmental standards. 
  • High-value travellers, according to Tourism Australia, are likely to spend more, stay longer and disperse more regionally. They have distinct key drivers for destination choice that includes aquatic and coastal, and nature and wildlife experiences when choosing a holiday destination. Attaining ECO Destination Certification will help to increase the region’s appeal in their eyes.
  • We’ll encourage high yield visitation by offering visitors an easy way to determine where genuine and authentic ecotourism experiences are found.
  • We’ll enjoy greater visibility through Ecotourism Australia promotions, including the Green Travel Guide, Australian Tourism Exchange, leading publications and more. 

It builds sustainable industry

  • We’ll use the accreditation framework as a business development tool to create an environment in which ecotourism thrives, long-term.
  • We’ll ensure our destination management practices are in line with international best practice sustainability standards.
  • We’ll join a global network of like-minded destinations who’ll share best practice and continuous improvement strategies.

ECO Destination Certification is only made possible when all businesses, organisations and individuals come together and promote the region as a genuine ECO Destination.

Latest research from reveals how the ‘pandemic effect’ could finally tip sustainable travel intent into impactful action. From the research, 83% of global travellers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future.

How does this benefit the community?

It protects our people, places and culture

  • We’ve got a long-term roadmap for sustainable tourism, ensuring our growth as a city aligns with the wellbeing of our natural resources.
  • We’ll attract visitors interested in genuine, high-quality nature-based experiences and value the landscape they are travelling in.
  • We’ll attract eco-conscious tourism operators who will look after the environment and contribute to the economy in a sustainable way.
  • We’ll make it easier for visitors and locals to find genuine nature and ecotourism operators. 

What is City Of Coffs Harbour’S role?

Whilst our whole region and community was evaluated, Coffs Harbour City Council is responsible for managing the accreditation and will be the main point of contact for Ecotourism Australia going forward. Over the coming years, we’ll have regular visits from an industry expert who’ll help us keep improving our destination management practices.

How can you get involved?

Nature plays an important role in developing and enhancing visitor experiences throughout our region. How well tourism operators promote, manage and capitalise on these natural assets is a crucial factor in attaining ECO Destination Certification.

There are eight ECO certified operators on the Coffs Coast, and we have a growing number of businesses embarking on their own Ecotourism Certification journey.

These businesses are supported by City of Coffs Harbour’s Economic Development & Tourism team through marketing opportunities and mentoring.

eco promotion toolkit

We have created a toolkit for all businesses containing video, images and information.


If you’d like to know more about ECO Destination Certification or how your business can become certified, please contact the Economic Development & Tourism Team at City of Coffs Harbour on

If your business sits outside of nature-based tourism but you have a sustainable business story to share, we’d love to hear from you too. We are keen to hear from people across all industries.