What is sustainable tourism?

Sustainable tourism, according to the World Tourism Organisation, is “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities”

Sustainable tourism should:

  1. Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
  2. Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
  3. Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

What's new

Fact sheets & toolkits

Partner Programs

Strive 4 sustainability scorecard

Embark on the pathway to sustainability and evaluate your business practices with the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard.

Destination NSW has partnered with Ecotourism Australia, the nation’s peak body for sustainable and ecotourism, to provide eligible NSW visitor economy businesses with fully funded access to the pre-certification Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard.

Sustainability Skills Micro-credentials: Round Two

Destination NSW has partnered with EarthCheck, the world’s leading sustainable advisory and scientific benchmarking company for tourism, to fully fund a second round of Sustainability Skills Micro-credentials for NSW visitor economy businesses.

Learn the foundations of sustainability for your business operations to meet changing consumer needs and drive cost savings.

NSW Sustainable Tourism Storyteller Profiles


There are a range of government and tourism industry resources, tools and initiatives to help tourism businesses become more sustainable.

NSW Government
Federal Government
Visitor Economy Industry Certifications and Programs
Further Programs
Other Resources