Ecotourism Accreditation in Australia
Promotional materials for a number of tours and lodges in Australia bear a prominent ecolabel, a green tick with the words ECO TOURISM in a rectangular format. This signifies accreditation under the Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Programme. Some bear two ticks, indicating Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation. From 2000 onwards, there will be two different single-tick labels, one for nature tourism and another for ecotourism. There may also be a label for individual guides under the National Nature and Ecotour Guide Certification Programme, NNEGCP. NEAP provides accreditation for individual tourism products rather than entire companies. As of January 2000, 237 products from over 100 companies have either basic or advanced ecotourism accreditation under NEAP. Nation-wide listings in classified telephone directories (Buckley, 1999) suggest that there are at least 1500 operators in the Australian nature, eco- and adventure tourism (NEAT) sector. Many of these, however, are very small and probably do not currently constitute viable businesses; and many have no pretension to be ecotours. Of the tourism products which are advertised or generally recognized as falling within broad definitions of ecotourism (Buckley, 1994; Tourism Queensland, 1997) a high proportion have obtained the NEAP ecolabel. Accredita-tion has also, however, been granted to several products which would probably not be considered as ecotourism by environmental groups.
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