An independent Ecotourism Australia auditor marked the Bundaberg Region as compliant with the 91 criteria for best practice sustainable management standards, granting ECO Destination Certification.
The certification process was led by Bundaberg Regional Council and has seen the region become the second destination in Queensland and fifth in Australia to announce certification.
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.
The auditor said “Council is to be praised” for the wealth of information provided for the assessment, with extensive supporting documentation clearly demonstrating the region’s sustainability focus.
Within their closing remarks they said Council and participating stakeholders, which included Bundaberg Tourism, Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust and tourism operators, were incredibly committed to and focussed on ensuring the future sustainability of the tourism industry in the region.
“Existing operators in the region such as Lady Elliot Island and Lady Musgrave Experience are leading the way with their excellent sustainability credentials, and new operators are pursuing ECO Certification for their products,” the auditor said.
“Add to that the passionate and committed community in the Bundaberg Region and there is no doubt this is a destination focussed on being a model eco and sustainable tourism destination now and into the future.”
The auditor 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 Encounter, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens and Alexandra Park Zoo.
Of the 91 criteria, four were flagged as compliant with recommendations, including setting regional water consumption reduction targets and compiling up-to-date and consistent visitor data.
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”.