Coffs recertified as an ECO Destination

Solitary Island Marine Park.

CITY Of Coffs Harbour’s recertification as an ECO Destination has been granted by Ecotourism Australia, a celebration of Coffs Harbour’s commitment to providing visitor experiences with low environmental impacts.

When Coffs Harbour became NSW’s first accredited ECO Destination in late 2021, it became only the second place in Australia to be so honoured, along with Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

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Gaining recertification reflects the City’s determination to evolve, grow and improve in the responsible tourism space.

“This reaffirms that we are on track in a continuing journey,” City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos said.

“We are a ‘Place of Plenty’ – boasting NSW’s oldest marine park through to world class forests and national parks and the unique experience of Muttonbird Island which is a significant place for Gumbaynggirr people.”

Ecotourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry worldwide, attracting ‘high value’ visitors who have elevated expectations and are likely to spend more and stay longer.

“Ecotourism Australia is pleased to confirm the re-certification of ECO Destination Coffs Coast following its recent audit,” Ecotourism Australia CEO Elissa Keenan said.

“Regular auditing ensures the destination remains compliant with its certification and provides an opportunity for continuous improvement to keep up to date with the latest global sustainability standards.

“The ongoing commitment from the City of Coffs Harbour to uphold these standards is to be commended and we are pleased to continue to support the region on its sustainability journey.”

Coffs Harbour’s status as an ECO Destination has been bolstered by a growing number of local businesses who have embraced the ideal.

When the Coffs Coast first gained ECO Destination certification, only a few businesses or experiences were recognised as ‘Eco champions’.

Today, that list has grown to ten, with a handful of others currently going through their own certification process.

“As the only place in Australia where the Great Dividing Range touches the sea, we have a unique offering of nature experiences,” City of Coffs Harbour General Manager Natalia Cowley said.

“Quite frankly, Coffs is built different.

“Certification positions us as a world leader in sustainable tourism and links us with a global network of like-minded destinations all dedicated to best practice.”

One of Coffs Harbour’s shining lights has been the development of the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk – a four-day trek skirting the Pacific Ocean.

The local buffet of Ecotourism certified businesses includes stand-up paddleboard tours led by Aboriginal guides, a zipline experience through the treetops, eco-stays in the Orara Valley, kayaking, diving and surfing in the Solitary Islands Marine Park and a rainforest oasis in the heart of the City at the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden.

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