Audit Program Progress

In July last year Ecotourism Australian launched our audit partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia. Since that time the extensive audit program has rolled out across the country and to date, 67 audits of certified operators have been completed across Victoria, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania, with more planned!

The purpose of these on-site audits is to monitor and maintain compliance of our operators in keeping with the core requirements of the our Certification Programs, which stipulate that on-site audits must be conducted. The audit process also provides a great opportunity for operators to engage with an experienced and knowledgeable expert in the ecotourism industry. It also offers the perfect opportunity for operators to speak with a tourism and environmental specialist, seek advice and feedback on current or planned initiatives, and showcase their hard work. All auditors have undergone formal audit qualifications and have significant experience in tourism and environmental management. To ensure impartiality and transparency all auditors are independent third parties contracted and managed through Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Conservation Volunteers is Australasia’s leading practical conservation organisation, having partnered with individuals, businesses and governments to manage conservation projects across Australia and New Zealand since 1982. They manage volunteer programs around Australia and across the world, supporting volunteer participation in a diverse range of important projects to protect and enhance our environment. Their experience and expertise in environmental management makes them the perfect partner to manage the onsite audit program for our certification programs.

Feedback from audited operators has been very positive and the auditors have been impressed with the quality of certified operators. Through the implementation and completion of audits the integrity and vigor of Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs are upheld.

If you would like to know more about our audit partnership with Conservation Volunteers, please contact our office.

(Pictured: Consevation Volunteers in action)

Audits Planned For NSW, QLD, NT And TAS Between March And June

We’re excited to announce that as part of Ecotourism Australia’s partnership with Conservation Volunteers (CV), on-site audits of ECO certified operators will be conducted across New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania between the months of March and June. This follows successful audits conducted on Victorian operators under the partnership over the December/January period.

On-site audits every three years are a core requirement of the ECO Certification Program, necessary to ensure compliance to our standards. The audits also provide the perfect opportunity for operators to speak with an environmental specialist, seek advice and feedback on current or planned initiatives, and showcase their hard work. Through EA’s partnership with CV, we hope to eliminate any negativity attached to auditing. The audit process is designed to be a supportive, constructive and communicative process helping operators to improve, not to merely seek out flaws or inadequacies.

Operators subject to audit are given 21 days’ notice, and on the day the audit process usually takes around three hours. As well as inspecting accommodations, facilities and tour vehicles or vessels, auditors review the documents that an operator in required to submit for their application to ensure they have been kept up-to-date. These plans include; business, marketing and operational management plans, environmental management and interpretation plans. Audits are also an opportunity for operators to upgrade to a higher level of certification if they have introduced new initiatives since they achieved certification.

We are looking forward to hearing more about our certified businesses and their operations, learning about new initiatives that may have been introduced, and further supporting our members commitment to strong environmental and ecotourism principals.

 To find out more about Ecotourism Australia and Conservation Volunteer’s partnership and audit program, please contact the EA office.