Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bellingen scores eco honour

The Bellingen Shire has been recognised for its commitment to global sustainability standards with the prestigious honour of attaining ECO Destination Certification through Ecotourism Australia. 

The honour was announced at the picturesque Urunga Lido by CEO of Ecotourism Australia, Elissa Keenan, and Bellingen Shire Council Mayor, Steve Allan. 

Bellingen Shire joins an elite cohort of eight Australian destinations dedicated to sustainable tourism and is the fourth in NSW to achieve this significant feat. Through Ecotourism Australia’s certification partner Green Destinations, Bellingen Shire is also recognised in a global network of more than 200 leading sustainable destinations. 

“Congratulations to Bellingen Shire on their achievement of ECO Destination Certification. This is a significant milestone on the region’s sustainability journey, and we are pleased to have supported the destination every step of the way throughout their application” said Ms Keenan. 

“Maximising positive benefits for the community and nature through sustainable tourism experiences is a core objective of the Certification and we look forward to ongoing partnership with Bellingen Shire as they support their own industry to adopt sustainable tourism practices and Certification.” 

Bellingen Shire is renowned for its stunning coastal scapes, dramatic waterfalls and World Heritage-listed rainforest scenery with State Forests and National Park covering more than half of the local government area, making it a haven for ecotourism and nature-based tourism activities. 

The Certification application was led by Bellingen Shire Council with collaboration and support from a variety of stakeholders including Gumbaynggirr representatives, National Parks and Forestry, business chambers and the local community throughout the application process. 

The ECO Destination Certification supports nature-based tourism destinations to improve their holistic sustainability planning and development against the four pillars of sustainability: environmental, socio-economic, cultural and sustainable management, as well as encourage local business engagement in ecotourism and sustainability. 11 Bellingen Shire tourism businesses are currently undergoing the precertification benchmarking program Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard to measure and improve their current sustainability practices. 

“Today marks a significant milestone — this certification formally acknowledges our strong, well-managed commitment to sustainability and high-quality nature-based tourism,” said Mayor Allan. 

“Council and our community are proudly focused on sustainable tourism that benefits businesses, locals and visitors alike. This is about us asking our visitors to join us in protecting our natural treasures and honouring our cultural heritage. 

“We look forward to continuing the partnership with Ecotourism Australia and working with our local business community as they adopt their own sustainable tourism practices. We’re all on a continuous learning journey together.” 

BSC Eco Gathering JPGs.jpg

The ECO Destination Certification was developed by Ecotourism Australia using the international Green Destinations standard, which is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The Certification assesses a region across the four pillars of sustainability and the destination must pass an on-site audit conducted by a third-party auditor before Certification can be granted.

Latest Articles