Ecotourism Australia, in partnership with Tourism Australia, has launched the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard programme which provides a benchmark for travellers looking for responsible travel options when visiting the country.

According to Ecotourism Australia, sustainability in tourism is turning increasingly into a major concern with more and more travellers are searching for responsible travel options and genuine sustainable experiences.

According to (2022), 81% of travellers confirmed that sustainable travel is important to them, while research from Expedia (2022) found that 7 in 10 consumers have avoided a travel destination or method of transport due to scepticism that the commitment to sustainable practices were genuine.

Ecotourism Australia and Tourism Australia’s new Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard programme is a pathway to sustainability, inviting all tourist businesses in Australia to measure where they are at in their sustainable tourism journey at any point in time. It assesses four pillars of sustainability: environmental, socio-economic and cultural impacts as well as sustainable management.

A programme open to all tourist operators

Cover of the guide (Ecotourism Australia)

Any tourism business or operator can be assessed, with the scorecard provided annually by Ecotourism Australia. Such businesses can include cafes, restaurants, bars, breweries, tour providers, activity/attraction providers, accommodation providers, events and festivals, tourism organisations, travel agents, visitor centres and tourism consultants.

Australia pre-certification program is open to all businesses in the tourism supply chain, providing any tourism business with a snapshot of how your business compares to the country’s globally recognised criteria for sustainable tourism.

Once a sustainability assessment is completed, businesses will receive a scorecard and a detailed report with personalised feedback. A scannable QR code is also embedded on the scorecard for anyone to learn more about the Strive 4 Sustainability program. For those operators that score 50% or higher, a certificate will also be provided that can be displayed publicly to promote their score.

The Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard criteria per category are the following:

I: Sustainable management
• Sustainable management, plans and policies
• Legal compliance
• Health and safety / risk management
• Responsible marketing
• Customer satisfaction
• Visitor education on sustainability
• Staff sustainability education and training.

II: Environmental impacts
• Environmental Management Plan
• Green supplier policy
• Emissions measurement and reduction
• Location and site selection
• Efficient buildings, construction and landscaping
• Energy conservation
• Water conservation
• Waste minimisation and management
• Cleaner transport
• Minimal disturbance to wildlife
• Contribution to conservation.

III: Socio-economic impacts
• Equal opportunity and fair treatment
• Anti-harassment and anti-exploitation
• Accessibility
• Staff training and development
• Community support and engagement
• Impact on local communities
• Local employment
• Local purchasing and supporting local businesses.

IV: Cultural impacts
• Acknowledgement of Country
• Consultation and training
• Cultural interpretation
• Visitation of culturally sensitive sites
• Protecting and presenting cultural heritage
• Indigenous arts, crafts and goods

The scorecard is valid for 12 months from completion of the tourism business criteria. At the end of the 12-month period, Ecotourism Australia encourages businesses to keep striving for sustainability and to aim for a higher score when applying to its next scorecard assessment.

Ecotourism Australia is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation, established in 1991, that promotes and supports the eco and sustainable tourism industries in Australia through building capacity and actively promoting sustainable tourism operations and systems.

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