Sustainable Tourism: Business Resources

18 March 2022

Sustainable Tourism: Business Resources

What is sustainable tourism?

Sustainable tourism 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.

Source: World Tourism Organization, Sustainable Development, The United Nations.

What's new?

Pathway Program: Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard
Course: Sustainability skills micro-credentials
Quick tips: Creating sustainable experiences

National Sustainable Framework and Sustainable Tourism Toolkit

Created in partnership with all state and territory governments and Tourism Australia, the National Sustainable Framework explains the different aspects of sustainability. It also sets out a goal for Australia to become a world leader in sustainable tourism. The Sustainable Tourism Toolkit is designed to help businesses across Australia to begin their journey to become more sustainable.

NSW Sustainable Tourism Storyteller Profiles


Find out about the depth and diversity of sustainable tourism products in NSW from these great storytellers. 


Sydney Opera House

Sustainability Hero: Emma Bombonato


Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Sustainability Hero: Kelly Webb


Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness

Sustainability Hero: Dwayne ‘Naja’ Bannon-Harrison


Tanja Lagoon Camp

Sustainability Hero: Loz Hunt

Photo credit: Kit Goldsworthy


Tread Lightly Eco Tours

Sustainability Hero: Tim Tranter


Restdown Wines and Jungle Lane Beef Co

Sustainability Hero:
Jo Hearn


Wolgan Valley Eco Tours

Sustainability Hero: Kristie Kearney



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

Government Departments and Agencies

NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

NSW Environment Protection Authority

Sustainability Advantage

Sustainability Advantage works with medium and large organisations to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices and to nurture leaders committed to securing a sustainable NSW.

Business Advice, Grants, Programs and Tools

Bin Trim Rebates Program

The Bin Trim Rebates Program provides small to medium sized businesses with free waste assessments and rebates to help cover the costs of installing small-scale, on-site recycling equipment.

Building Sustainability Index

The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) ensures new and renovated homes are designed using specific water and energy targets. These principles can also be applied to other types of construction.

Building Upgrade Finance

Environmental Upgrade Agreements provide owners or managers with access to loans to upgrade a commercial building to maximise the building’s energy efficiency.

Circular Challenge Funding Scheme NSW

Circular will grant up to $600K to support one or more iconic projects that will enable the delivery of circularity in, and scaling of, critical supply chains identified by the work of NSW Circular.

Coastal and Estuary Grants

The NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Grants Program provides technical and financial support to local government to help manage the coastal zone.

Electric Vehicle Strategy

Under the Strategy, stamp duty on electric vehicles (EVs) will be phased out and drivers will have access to a world-class road network of ultra-fast charging stations. The Electric Vehicle Strategy is supported by $490 million in funding.

Love Food Hate Waste

Your Business is Food Toolkit is a guide for businesses on how to save money on food wastage and donate surplus food.

Net Zero: a seismic investment opportunity

The ‘Race to Zero’ is on and there is no better time to capitalise on the opportunity to establish and grow your business in Sydney and NSW.

NSW Environmental Trust Environmental Grants

The NSW Environmental Trust provides funding to a range of community, government and industry stakeholders to deliver projects that conserve, protect and rehabilitate the NSW environment, or that promote environmental education and sustainability.

Single-Use Plastic Ban - Guide for Business

The NSW Government are banning certain single-use plastics from 1st November, including single-use plastics straws, stirrers and cutlery, single-use plastic bowls and plates, and expanded polystyrene food ware and cups.

Government Departments and Agencies

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Business Advice, Grants, Programs and Tools

Business Australia Business Energy and Advice Program

Free energy efficiency audits and advice for small businesses Australia wide including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Environmental Management Guide

Information on environmental management, how to make your business environmentally friendly and energy efficiency.

Emissions Reduction Fund

The Emissions Reduction Fund provides businesses with the opportunity to earn Australian carbon credit units for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent a business stores or avoids emitting through adopting new practices and technologies.

Federal Government Grants and Programs Finder

Find grants, funding and support programs from across government to help your business.

Green Initiative Grants

The Australian government has introduced several measures to promote environmentally friendly initiatives. Assistance programs are available in the form of grants, incentives, awards and subsidies to individuals, groups, community networks and businesses.

Green Vehicle Guide

Provides information on environmental performance of new light vehicles sold in Australia.

National Sustainable Framework and Sustainable Tourism Toolkit for the Visitor Economy

Created in partnership with all state and territory governments and Tourism Australia, these resources are designed to unite and inspire action on sustainable tourism. The Framework explains the different aspects of sustainability. It also sets out a goal for Australia to become a world leader in sustainable tourism. The Sustainable Tourism Toolkit is designed to help tourism businesses across Australia to begin their journey to become more sustainable.

Tourism Australia

Driving awareness of, and capability for a sustainable industry is a defined strategic priority for Tourism Australia.


EarthCheck is the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism. Since 1987, we have helped businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travellers to visit, live, work and play. We understand the value of big ideas and the importance of clear communication. We know that what can be good for the planet is also good for business.

Ecotourism Australia

Ecotourism Australia aims to inspire environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism and administers an ECO Certification program.  The program certifies tourism products (tours, accommodations and attractions) with a primary focus on nature. It assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high quality nature-based tourism experiences. The Green Travel Guide features tourism operators and destinations certified by Ecotourism Australia.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

The GSTC manages the criteria and global standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as providing international accreditation for sustainable tourism certification bodies.

Green Globe

The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism has been developed over three decades in collaboration with the travel and tourism industry, communities in tourism destinations and other stakeholders. The standard is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Australian Certified Organic (ACO)

ACO provides certification services to operators from all sectors of the organic industry. Certification ensures compliance with national and international production standards and allows trace back of all products to their origin.

B Corp

The global B Corp community mobilises a collective action to address society’s most critical challenges, and collaborates with governments, academia, coalitions, and other institutions to drive economic systems change.

Climate Active

Climate Active certifies businesses and organisations that have proven that they are measuring, reducing, and offsetting their emissions, with a net result of zero emissions.

Green Getaways

Properties listed on Green Getaways Australia are taking steps towards making tourism accommodation more sustainable, whether water or energy conservation, recycling, or reducing the consumption of natural resources through bulk amenities and eco-friendly cleaning.

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NAASA) Certified Organic

NAASA plays a critically important role in supporting and promoting the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that lead to safer and more sustainable food production systems.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is Australia’s national program for grape growers and winemakers to demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainability in the vineyard and winery through the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses.

Take 3 Plastic Pollution Education Programs | Take 3 For The Sea

Through education that inspires participation, Take 3 is building a global movement of people who are connected to the planet. Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or… anywhere, and you have made a difference.