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Tourism for the Future

A sustainable tourism industry is crucial to Australia achieving the vision of having a sustainable future and Ecotourism Australia believes that the opportunity to grow tourism in Australia lies within our ability to deliver environmentally sustainable and responsible tourism experiences. 

 To support this, Ecotourism Australia is proud to release a strategic discussion paper Tourism for the Future 2010-2020 which challenges government to build a sustainable tourism industry through the development of a “Green Visitor Economy”.

 “Ecotourism Australia is prepared to show leadership and we invite government to partner with us to build a truly sustainable tourism industry,” Ms Kym Cheatham, CEO of Ecotourism Australia said.

 “By developing this discussion paper Tourism for Tomorrow 2010-2020, we are encouraging government and industry to take a long term view of building a sustainable tourism industry as part of a sustainable Australia”.


The National Long Term Tourism Strategy released last year indentified that: consumers in key Australian tourism markets are increasingly focusing on climate change and environmental sustainability when making purchasing decisions. Through enhancing awareness of environmental protection and sustainability, and ensuring proper management of natural assets, Australia has the opportunity to counteract negative consumer perceptions and purchasing behaviours, and to gain significant economic, social and cultural benefits from sustainable tourism.[1]


“The tourism industry is incredibly vulnerable to the negative impacts of environmental incidents through both loss of the natural asset and loss of appeal to travellers” Ms Cheatham said. “We have all seen the short term devastating impacts of cyclones and tsunamis on the tourism industry.  How do we collectively plan for a sustainable tourism industry for the future?”


Tourism industry currently generates $32.9 billion GDP (2.8% of national GDP), employs directly 486,200 people (4.5% of national employment) and is worth $23.5 billion exports (8.3% of national exports).


“Is Australia prepared to put that at risk? Is regional Australia prepared to lose the jobs generated by tourism in their local economies? ” Ms Cheatham asks. “The tourism industry must be part of the wider sustainability plans and intrinsically involved in the development of Australia’s Green Economy.”

Ecotourism Australia introduced the world first ECO certification program for tourism in 1996 and now has more than 1000 tourism products certified through their programs throughout Australia.

Ecotourism Australia Ecotourism Australia has declared 2010 as the Year of Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable Tourism and are members of the UN supported and funded Tourism Sustainability Council.

For more information contact:

Kym Cheatham, Chief Executive Officer,

Ecotourism Australia

E:, M: 0427 279 414

[1] Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, 2009, National Long Term-Tourism Strategy,

About the Author

The Ecotourism Australia vision: "To be leaders in assisting ecotourism and other committed tourism operations to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially and culturally responsible".Ecotourism Australia was formed in 1991 as an incorporated non-profit organisation, and is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry. Ecotourism Australia aims to grow and promote ecotourism and to assist tourism operators to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially and culturally responsible.Membership includes tour operators, ecotourism accommodation, tourism planners, protected area managers, academics and students, regional tourism associations and travellers.Ecotourism Australia’s certification program ECO is a world first. It provides objective monitoring and auditing of organisations’ ecotourism claims and provides travel agents and tourists with an assurance of best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and quality ecotourism experiences.Ecotourism Australia recently added ROC (Respect Our Culture) Certification for Indigenous Tourism operators and Climate Action Australia Certification to help the tourism industry work towards a more sustainable future.In 2008, Ecotourism Australia was awarded the prestigious World Travel and Tourism Council “Tourism for Tomorrow” Award for Conservation at the World Tourism Summit in recognition of Ecotourism Australia’s significant contribution to the conservation and preservation of natural heritage.
Submitted by Ecotourism Australia on Aug 9, 2010