The Australian EcoCertification Program (originally known as the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program – or NEAP) blazed a trail in developing the world’s first ecotourism-specific certification program in 1996, and has been heralded as an example of a successful ecotourism certification program. The program has been credited with improving standards and professionalism in the Australian ecotourism industry, providing encouragement and tangible rewards to operators who demonstrated sustainable environmental and socio-cultural practices and used as a blueprint for the development of other eco certification programs, including Green Globe 21’s International Ecotourism Standard.The EcoCertification Program was developed primarily as a tool to identify genuine, and quality ecotourism product. The criteria were developed from the principle components of most ecotourism definitions – nature-focused product that was environmentally sustainable, included interpretation, provided returns to both local communities and environments and was culturally sensitive. This chapter provides an insight into the development of the program and identifies key changes introduced as a result of experience, the in-built demand for continuous improvement, internal politics and external pressure and forces. The realities of establishing and operating an ecotourism certification program and the evolution of the program through to the third version are followed in order to learn from the successes and triumphs as well as the setbacks.
|Title of host publication||Quality assurance and certification in ecotourism / edited by Rosemary Black and Alice Crabtree|
|Editors||Rosemary Black, Alice Crabtree|
|Place of Publication||Oxfordshire, England|
|Number of pages||29|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2007|