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Eco-certified Tourism Destination Program

Supporting Queensland destinations to achieve globally recognised certification as a sustainable tourism destination.

About the program

Queensland is home to Australia’s first eco-certified destination, Port Douglas Daintree, and has a growing number of destinations going through the certification process.

The $1 million Eco-certified Tourism Destination Program (the program) provides grant funding of between $50,000 and $150,000 to Queensland local government authorities and regional and local tourism organisations to support our tourism destinations to achieve globally recognised certification through either:

The program is a key initiative in response to the Towards 2032: Reshaping Queensland’s visitor economy to welcome the world (PDF, 18.1MB) report, which identifies sustainability as a key catalyst for change.

The program is designed to:

  • position Queensland to become a leader in sustainable tourism
  • leverage the growth potential in nature-based tourism experiences
  • support the actions required to achieve a Climate Positive Olympics in 2032 and the target of net zero emissions by 2050.


The objectives of the program are to:

  • fast-track the certification for destinations already engaged in either of the two globally recognised certification programs
  • support new destinations to join the certification programs and achieve certification
  • support certified destinations to attain a higher level of certification
  • build a network of globally recognised certified destinations throughout Queensland.

For grant recipients, funding will support them to achieve a level of destination certification that will:

  • help deliver improvements to sustainable practises
  • better position the destination as a sustainable, low carbon and climate resilient tourism destination
  • enable them to be responsive to changing visitor needs and grow and adapt to future demand for high-quality nature-based tourism experiences.

Achieving destination certification has benefits for a destination. It helps deliver improvements to sustainable practises; assures visitors that the destination is backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to ongoing improvement of sustainable practises and provision of high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region. It can also provide a marketable point of difference and signal it is responding to changing visitor needs as demand grows for sustainable, nature-based tourism experiences.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism. EarthCheck is a GSTC-accredited certification body for destinations, and Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification program incorporates the GSTC-recognised Green Destination Standard.

Recognition of these certification programs ensures that destinations comply with the highest social and environmental standards on the market, and this is consistent with the approach taken by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in their certification requirements for commercial tourism operators.

Grant details

The Eco-certified Tourism Destination Program Guidelines (PDF, 1.3MB) contain detailed information regarding the grant funding program.

The minimum grant available is $50,000 (excluding GST) and the maximum grant available is $150,000 (excluding GST).

Funding can cover up to 100 per cent of the eligible activity expenditure, and can be used for direct expenditure associated with the certification process which may include:

  • certification fees, onsite audit fees, coaching support and/or support packages and associated logistical costs
  • engagement of consultants/contractors/temporary employees to:
    • project manage and/or coordinate the certification process
    • prepare reports, plans, policies, and process development to directly support certification requirements
  • undertaking required industry and/or community engagement.

Where a destination has already achieved certification at an entry level (for example Nature Tourism, Bronze) or would achieve certification without the need for government assistance, program funding may be used to achieve the next level of certification.


To be eligible to apply for funding under the program, an applicant must either be a:

  • Queensland local government authority, or any entity governing or managing a local government area in accordance with legislation
  • Regional Tourism Organisation or Local Tourism Organisation in partnership with the relevant local government authority and/or authorities.

Eligible applicants can apply for funding as part of a competitive grant process to help them attain certification through two globally recognised programs available in Queensland:

Apply for funding

Applications are now open and will close at 11.59pm Friday 7 October 2022.

Apply now

Refer to the Eco-certified Tourism Destination Program Guidelines (PDF, 1.3MB) for more information regarding eligibility criteria, the application process, payment, and other key information.

Eligible applicants are invited to apply using the online application form.

Following the assessment of applications, successful recipients will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the State. This example Grant Agreement is provided for information only.

Key dates

These dates are indicative only and subject to change as required.

Applications open Wednesday 17 August 2022
Applications close 11.59 pm Friday 7 October 2022
Expected announcement of successful applicants Late 2022
Program close 30 June 2024

More information


Last updated: 17 Aug 2022