HomeNewsBundaberg the newest ECO Certified Destination

Bundaberg the newest ECO Certified Destination

ECO Destination Certification
Bundaberg Tourism CEO Katherine Reid, Mayor Jack Dempsey and Ecotourism Australia CEO Elissa Keenan proudly display the Bundaberg Region's ECO Destination Certification.

The Bundaberg Region has become the second destination in Queensland and fifth in Australia to announce ECO Destination Certification from Ecotourism Australia.

The globally recognised ECO Destination Certification process through Ecotourism Australia is complex and recognises the efforts of the entire community, local government and tourism industry towards all aspects of regional sustainability.

Following independent assessment across 91 criteria, the region achieved the certification at the Ecotourism level which is defined as a “[n]ature-based tourism destination with a strong commitment to ecotourism principles. This involves cultural and natural interpretation and education for visitors, and local business engagement in sustainability”.

The Bundaberg Region is home to some of the most lauded eco-certified experiences on the Great Barrier Reef including Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, Lady Musgrave Experience, Mon Repos Turtle Centre and Kellys Beach Resort.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg Regional Council had led the certification process with support from a range of stakeholders including Bundaberg Tourism, PCCC and local operators and organisations.

“It is a massive coup for the Bundaberg Region to achieve ECO Destination Certification and sees our community become one of only a small number in the country to do so,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“This achievement demonstrates our community’s respect and care for the natural environment and will ensure we continue to grow in a sustainable way into the future.

“Ecotourism Australia’s independent auditor had some wonderful feedback for our region in making their decision and commended Council for its proactive approach to sustainability.

“This achievement has obvious benefits for our economy but it will also benefit our environment by providing a framework to constantly maintain and improve sustainability practices.

“It is also wonderful for our community members who can be proud of the role they play in preserving and protecting this place we are lucky enough to call home.”

The auditor also noted that, of the top five Bundaberg Region attractions and traveller favourites on TripAdvisor in 2022, three were nature-based and included Mon Repos Turtle Centre, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens and Alexandra Park Zoo.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Elissa Keenan said Ecotourism Australia was proud to award the Bundaberg Region ECO Destination Certification at the Ecotourism level.

“Bundaberg Regional Council’s rigorous efforts to implement sustainable destination management practices at a global standard mark a strengthened environmental focus for the region’s tourism industry,” Ms Keenan said.

ECO Destination Certification
Uncle Chris Thiesfield performed a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country at the Bundaberg Region ECO Destination Certification launch held at Nielson Park Beach.

“Achieving ECO Destination Certification not only supports local Ecotourism Australia certified operators but inspires local tourism businesses to implement sustainability and achieve certification.

“Bundaberg Regional Council shows an ongoing commitment to developing the region’s responsible tourism product by engaging operators to uptake Ecotourism Australia’s globally recognised programs, through our legacy ECO Certification, and now new sustainable tourism programs available to the wider tourism industry.

“Bundaberg’s application demonstrated a passion for, and dedication to, holistic sustainability within the region, championing initiatives such as the One Million Trees Project and the popular Milbi Festival.

“Congratulations to the Bundaberg region on this significant achievement.”

Bundaberg Tourism played a key role in supporting the ECO Destination Certification process which CEO Katherine Reid said was set to make the region even more popular with travellers.

“The tourism industry of the region has long believed that experiencing our internationally significant but fragile natural assets is the greatest way to educate people about the need for conservation,” Ms Reid said.

“The community and our tourism industry take great pride in our role as custodians of the Great Barrier Reef and the precious land, water and sea Country of the Traditional Owners on which we live and ECO Destination Certification is formal acknowledgement of this.

“The Bundaberg Region continues to shine as one of Australia’s most exciting emerging tourism destinations, with people flocking from around the nation and the globe to experience our unique offerings.

“The knowledge that their holidays are underpinned by respectful, sustainable and, in some cases, regenerative business practices will only strengthen our desirability as a destination.”

What is an ECO Certified Destination?

The ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.

Becoming a certified ECO Destination means regions will be demonstrating internationally recognised ecotourism credentials to visitors, stakeholders and the community in a manner that is credible and authenticated.

In other words, it’s not just regions saying they’re sustainable – it’s independently assessed, verified and audited.



  1. The certification is just another nail in the coffin of Fox Resources’ attempt to revive its proposed coking coal mine near Bundy. Currently the company through the Brisbane law firm McCullough Robertson, is contesting the Qld Resource Minister’s rejection of its Application for a Mineral Development Licence in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

    This court process commenced in May 2022 and the next court date is in March this year. We can be certain that had this coal project proceeded this eco destination certification would not have been granted.

    So thanks to our mayor and others for pursuing this goal and for being so strongly against the proposed coal mine.

  2. The ECO Destination Certification is certainly a valuable achievement. However, there is still so much more than could and should be done to make Bundaberg and surrounds a truly sustainable locality. I am talking above stopping all the plastic debris that flows freely down our gutters and drains into the Burnett River, replanting cleared creek and river banks with native vegetation and reining in the clearing of forested blocks for urban and industrial developments – just to name a few!!

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