Now is the time for businesses and the entire Camden Haven region to push for a future in ecotourism, according to Camden Haven tourism operator Peter Johnson.
The Diamond Waters Treehouse Retreat owner has been re-elected as a board director for Ecotourism Australia. He continues with a new two year term after 18 months of work on the EA board.
The not for profit organisation offers an environmental certification program for tourism products such as tours, accommodations, attractions with a primary focus on nature.
"It (ecotourism certification) helps to drive quality, innovation, peer sharing of ideas and opportunities for funding support," Mr Johnson said.
"We were for a long time the only Ecotourism Australia certified facility in the local government area and this stamp of quality has been a big factor in the amazing success we have had in attracting interstate and international guests.
"I'm thrilled that the retreat is now being joined by the newly opened Mansfield Estate as the region's second Ecotourism Australia member."
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Last year has been a huge year for ecotourism across Australia as businesses use the unfortunate downtime to push for certification, according to Mr Johnson.
"It's awesome to see so many areas throughout Australia seeking to challenge old assumptions around tourism and strive for a more sustainable and community compatible approach," Mr Johnson said.
"The fact that our local government area has been successful in attracting $30,000 of World Wildlife Fund Fire Disaster Recovery funds to fast-track eco destination certification is huge.
"Coffs Harbour and Lord Howe Island are well on their way to certification and when international travel resumes we desperately need the high spending international visitors to view us as another jewel in the ecotourism crown.
"It is wonderful that we have a Chamber of Commerce and supportive local newspaper that is engaging with the local community on these issues."
Eco Destination membership has grown from zero members in 2018 to 18 this year, through uptake of Ecotourism Australia's Eco Destination Certification Program and support from the World Wildlife Fund Fire Disaster Recovery program, Mr Johnson said.