High standard tourism

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) encourages tourism operations to adopt high standards for protection, presentation and partnership within the Marine Park. These standards enhance environmental protection, reef resilience and tourism sustainability.

The GBRMPA relies on independent certification to identify high standard operations. It recognises the ECO Certification Program operated by Ecotourism Australia as a certification scheme for the Marine Park.

Through the ECO Certification Program, Ecotourism Australia identifies and monitors high standard tourism operations. Other certification schemes may be approved in the future, based on standard assessment criteria and a simple assessment process.

How can operators obtain certification?

Tourism operations that are operating to a high standard in the Marine Park can apply to become certified by contacting Ecotourism Australia and demonstrating that their operations meet either the Ecotourism or Advanced Ecotourism levels of the ECO Certification Program.

Are there benefits to becoming certified?

The GBRMPA has developed benefits to both reward high standard operators and provide incentives for other operators to improve their performance. The major benefit offered by the GBRMPA is an extended permit term of 15 years for tourism program permits.

Operators who are certified with the ECO Certification Program (Ecotourism and Advanced Ecotourism levels) and wish to apply for a 15-year permit for a certified tourism product will need to complete the usual Marine Parks permit application form and provide evidence of certification. The application will be assessed as normal and an assessment fee will apply.

In addition, certified operators are listed on GBRMPA's website and are showcased at various trade events (for example, the Australian Tourism Exchange) and in publications (for example, the Australian Ecotourism Directory).