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Sustainable tourism considers current and future economic, social and environmental impacts through the visitor economy, addressing the needs of travellers, the industry, the environment and host communities. 

Sustainable tourism is everyone's business. Whether you are an accommodation property, tour operator, working in our natural environment or providing visitor information, all businesses in the visitor economy are responsible for contributing to a more sustainable industry. 

The National Sustainability Framework and Toolkit 

The National Sustainability Framework for the Visitor Economy has been developed by the Federal Government in partnership with State Tourism Organisations, and provides a national definition of sustainability for the visitor economy and outlines the four pillars of sustainable tourism: 

  • Taking a managed approach  
  • Respecting culture
  • Creating positive social impact 
  • Environment and climate action 

The Toolkit is a ‘how-to’ guide providing practical, easy-to-understand information for micro and small to medium tourism businesses to implement sustainable practices.  

It is designed as an ‘entry-point’ for businesses starting their sustainability journey, while avoiding duplicating industry-led certification processes for businesses that are more advanced in their sustainability journey or wish to seek more formal measurement and certification.   

A range of programs to support and inform the industry on sustainable tourism in Western Australia is listed below.

Sustainability Accreditation And Certification

There are a variety of certification programs available to industry to continue on their sustainability journey:

Tourism Council Western Australia - Sustainable Tourism:

Sustainable Tourism Accreditation is the Australian tourism industry’s largest and longest-running sustainability program. 

Western Australia is leading the way as a sustainable tourism destination with more than 1,200 accredited businesses.

Sustainable Tourism Accreditation incorporates sustainability across environmental, cultural, social and commercial business practices and is recognised by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions for tourism operators in National Parks and marine parks.  

The Tourism Emissions Reduction Program enables tourism operators to undertake an online emissions assessment and develop a tailored emissions reduction plan which can be published on their website to demonstrate their commitment to improving their sustainability.

EcoStar Accreditation is for tourism businesses that demonstrate the highest level of environmental management over and above Sustainable Tourism requirements. 

EcoStar Accreditation assists businesses in achieving environmental sustainability whilst developing and promoting true Eco Tourism experiences.

EcoStar Accreditation is recognised by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions for long-term tourism licences and leases in National Parks and marine parks.

Marine Tourism Accreditation recognises businesses meeting the WA Marine Tour Operators Best Practice Standards. 

By becoming Marine Tourism Accredited, businesses have demonstrated a commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct operating in Western Australia's pristine marine environment. 

Marine Tourism Accreditation was developed in conjunction with the WA Department of Fisheries.

EcoTourism Australia  -
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The ECO Certification program certifies tourism products (tours, accommodations, attractions) with a primary focus on nature. 

It assures travellers that these certified products are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high-quality nature-based tourism experiences. 

The ECO Certification program is a world first and has been developed to address the need to identify genuine nature and ecotourism operators. 

ECO Certification is aligned to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) standards. 

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Sustainable Tourism Certification is designed for all businesses that operate in the tourism supply chain in a non-nature-based space, including hotels, attractions, tours, transport, restaurants, breweries, and more. 

In addition to Ecotourism Australia’s overarching business certification programs, find out more about the organisation’s specialist programs. 

EarthCheck  -


EarthCheck ECO certifies ecotourism businesses, specifically terrestrial and marine parks. This certification is aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) standards.

Sustainability Benchmarking

EcoTourism Australia  -

Strive for sustainability.JPG 

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard measures where a business or tourism operator is at on their sustainability journey, at a point in time, and assesses the following four pillars of sustainability: 

  • Environmental impacts 
  • Socio-economic impacts 
  • Cultural impacts 
  • Sustainable management 

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard is not an accreditation program or reliant on a membership to undertake. It is an analysis tool to assist businesses to better understand how they are operating and areas to focus on to improve their sustainability.  

More information about sustainability can be found on Austrade's website here

Last Reviewed: 2024-02-27