The first-of-its-kind framework for Australia’s visitor economy is built around four internationally recognise pillars created by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
The pillars comprise taking a managed approach to sustainability, implementing environmental and climate action, respecting culture and creating positive social impact.
The goals attached to the four pillars include embedding practices into tourism and business events businesses which facilitate continuous improvement in sustainability and communicating progress to clients, reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, protecting Australia’s unique culture through engagement with Australia’s First Nations people and other multicultural communities around the country, and fostering positive social impact through purchasing from local suppliers, supporting community development and creating jobs.
Decarbonisation and embracing First Nations cultures and perspectives throughout the visitor economy are noted as two particular priorities of the framework, which has been endorsed by the federal government and every state and territory government.
The framework posits that sustainability has moved from being “optional or a feature of niche tourism products” to being “an imperative for the future success of every business in the visitor economy”. The framework links a sustainable visitor economy to Australia’s international reputation and the overall credibility of the visitor economy.
The sustainability toolkit, launched in conjunction with the framework, provides step by step guides corresponding to the four pillars, including highlighting the path to net zero carbon emissions, how to communicate sustainability initiatives and how to incorporate Australia’s First Nations into visitor economy businesses with respect.
Austrade, Tourism Australia, state and territory governments, the federal Department of Industry, Science and Resources and EarthCheck all contributed to the development of both the sustainability framework and toolkit.