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NSW Central Coast wins global green award in Berlin for growing a sustainable tourism industry

Eco Voice
Eco Voice
First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.

The Central Coast in New South Wales has won First Place in the global Green Destinations Story Awards at the world’s leading travel trade show ITB Berlin on Wednesday 6 March 2024. 

The annual awards are presented to the most inspiring sustainable tourism initiatives submitted across six categories, with the Central Coast receiving the top accolade in the Destination Management category.

The NSW Central Coast was the only Australian certified ECO Destination recognised on the international stage at ITB Berlin 2024. By winning this competition, the Central Coast has been confirmed as one of the regions leading the way for sustainable tourism on a global scale.

The 2024 Green Destinations Story Awards official ceremony showcased a diverse range of good practice stories from tourism destinations around the world. 

Central Coast Council’s Chief Executive Officer, David Farmer said, this incredible recognition on the international stage represents the undeniable progress we have made growing our ecotourism destination since 2021.

“Taking home this award is testament not only to Council’s ability to lead tourism management for the region, but to the commitment from our local industry who are taking up the mantle and leading with sustainability in their tourism offerings,” Mr Farmer said. 

Central Coast Council’s winning Sustainability Story submission focused on the region’s commitment to building an ecotourism community known as ‘Eco Advocates’.

Central Coast’s winning Good Practice Story under the Destination Management category, titled ‘A Destination of Eco Advocates with Whales, Alpacas and Wheels’ received high praise from the judges.

Chief Executive of Ecotourism Australia, Elissa Keenan congratulated Central Coast Council for taking out first place at the world’s most prestigious sustainable destination awards ceremony. 

“The Council has worked tirelessly over many years to achieve ongoing global best-practice sustainable destination standards and support their local tourism industry on their own sustainability journey with Ecotourism Australia’s Certifications and Programs. Their winning story is a testament to the whole region’s commitment to sustainability and is an inspirational model for other Australian and international destinations to grow sustainability from the ground up,” Ms Keenan said. 

Central Coast Administrator Rik Hart said the win is a real testament to Council’s support and investment in the tourism sector on the Central Coast.

“Our investment is being reflected in visitor numbers – for the year ending June 2023 in comparison to June 2022, total domestic visitor numbers have increased by 52.3% with 5,946,000 domestic visitors to the Central Coast.

“Council’s destination marketing and management initiatives have also resulted in winning accolades and major awards over the last few years, including this current global win, but equally significantly, Council’s support has also helped grow local business, economic growth and jobs in the sector.

“I want to congratulate everyone involved in helping achieve this outstanding global award,” Mr Hart said.

The Central Coast has been a consistent finalist in the Top 100 Sustainability Stories competition for the last three years, recognising the region’s ongoing commitment to sustainable destination management best practice led by Central Coast Council, in partnership with the local tourism industry.

The Central Coast became Australia’s third certified ECO Destination in 2022, as part of a commitment to grow sustainable tourism practices in destination management and promote world-class nature-based experiences.

Visit the Central Coast’s dedicated destination website to find out more:

When sharing your love for all things Central Coast tag us on Instagram and Facebook and #LoveCentralCoast

About ITB Berlin 

ITB Berlin 2024 takes place from Tuesday, five to Thursday, 7 March. Since 1966, ITB Berlin has been the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As in previous years, the internationally acclaimed ITB Berlin Convention will take place parallel with the show as a live event on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. Under the heading ‘Pioneer the Transition in Travel & Tourism Together’, leading speakers from business, science and politics will discuss the industry’s current and future challenges on four stages with a total of 17 themed tracks and more than 24,000 attendees.

About the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories

The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories is an annual competition that collects and celebrates initiatives from Destinations globally, inspiring responsible tourism leadership.

The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories has run annually since 2014, celebrating and promoting 100 destinations as inspiring examples for other destinations, tour operators and visitors. Good Practice Stories selected to the annual Top 100 list combines good practice elements with the power of storytelling.

Participating destinations also have to self-report on the Green Destinations Core Criteria, showing their compliance with the basics of sustainability performance, which provides a unique opportunity for a first step towards sustainability recognition.

Every year, Green Destinations’ jury of experts select the most excellent stories from the Top 100 list to be nominated for the Green Destinations Story Awards, celebrated by ITB Berlin.

About the Central Coast

The Central Coast is one of New South Wales and Australia’s leading tourism destinations, the heart of striking natural beauty and panoramic coastlines, hinterland, food, culture and a rich tapestry of makers and creators that define it. Spanning an area of over 1600 km², the Central Coast is home to vibrant happenings and things to do from epicurean dining to the outdoors to culture, inspiring both weekend and long stays adventures.

Winning first place in the global Green Destinations Story Awards at the world’s leading travel trade show ITB Berlin, Central Coast has landed the destination with global recognition. As one of Australia’s top 10 domestic travel destinations by DSpark, landing as number 25 out of 50 on Tourism Research Australia’s National Visitors’ destination survey, the NSW Central Coast is an emerging national and international destination primed for growth and economic transformation. The region was also one of the first in Australia to receive international recognition as a sustainable tourism destination through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification program in 2022.


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