Posted by Lina Cronin on 3 March 2022 | Comments


Ecotourism Australia’s inaugural ECO Think Destination Forum will be held jointly on Gumbaynggirr Country by Bellingen Shire and the Coffs Harbour City Council from the 22nd – 25th of March, bringing together regional stakeholders to discuss sustainable destination management.

The event, supported by WWF-Australia and Destination North Coast New South Wales, is Ecotourism Australia’s first major event focused solely on destinations, building on the organisation’s growing work with councils and regions across Australia through its ECO Destination Certification program.

Ecotourism Australia Chair Dr Claire Ellis said that the event was a great opportunity for destination representatives to come together and share knowledge, be inspired and connect with representatives from other destinations also taking a more sustainable approach to their destination management. With a capped attendance of approximately 60 people, the forum is designed to be a two-way conversation about action and implementing change in region.

“We are really excited about our destination forum,” she said. “Since launching our ECO Destination Certification program in 2018 and seeing our first destination achieving certification that same year, we now have 18 destinations involved in the program and two of them (Douglas Shire and Coffs Coast) certified.

“As international borders reopen, it is even more critical for us to respond to the growing consumer demand for sustainability and quality nature-based destinations. We now have a globally accepted framework that demonstrates the value of a whole-of-destination, continuous improvement approach; with councils, tourism organisations, protected area management agencies and the local community working in partnership for the long-term benefit of the environment, residents and visitors.”

Topics to be addressed during the forum include: (1) nature and tourism as allies; (2) ecotourism, community and culture; (3) a business environment where ecotourism thrives, and (4) sustainability is in demand, now what?

The forum will be attended by Ecotourism Australia’s new CEO, Elissa Keenan, as well as most of the Ecotourism Australia board of directors. Guest speakers will include Tourism Australia’s Head of Sustainability, Penny Rafferty, and Ecotourism Australia member Clark Webb of Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School.


For more information about the forum, visit



Media contact: Lina Cronin, Communications Manager: 0422325488 /

comments powered by Disqus