Sustainable tourism program

As one of Australia’s most biodiverse cities, the Gold Coast is naturally unique. 

Latest research from Sustainable Travel Report shows that more than 74% of travellers are committed to looking for more sustainable options. Tourism Australia's Future Demand of Travel research identified that over 33% of travellers are willing to spend more on sustainable experiences. Sustainability is increasingly influencing traveller choices in:

  • where to go
  • how to get there
  • where to stay
  • what they do when they get there.

The tourism industry has an opportunity to lead positive change by helping shape the demand travel options with a low-carbon footprint.

The framework focuses on the 4 pillars of sustainable tourism:

  1. Taking a managed approach to sustainability
  2. Implementing environmental and climate action
  3. Respecting culture
  4. Creating positive social impact

Join us as we pave the way towards a sustainable future – one journey, one choice at a time.

Program aims

  • Raise traveller awareness of sustainable travel options
  • Champion sustainability
  • Redefine travel experiences that leave a smaller footprint on our city

Businesses are at different phases of becoming sustainable. The program we are developing will help participating businesses by providing measurable data such as:

  • improvements in profitability and reducing costs
  • increase in reputation, customer and employee satisfaction, competitiveness, and appeal to customers and employees
  • businesses carbon footprint
  • adaption to and increasing resilience to climate change
  • environmental impact through reuse, repair, recycling and waste reduction
  • improvements in relationships with customers, employees, local communities and suppliers.

These initiatives are aligned with national, state & local strategy frameworks.

Phase 1

The Queensland Government's Tourism Business Capability Subsidy supports eligible businesses to undertake targeted accreditation programs.

We are offering to supercharge your sustainability journey by boosting funding support for this program. We will match the Queensland Government’s offer of an additional grant of up to $2000 towards program costs.

Be one of the first businesses to submit your application and go in the draw to win one of five delegate passes to the Global Sustainable Tourism Summit and World Environment Day Cocktail Dinner held in Brisbane 5–6 June 2024, valued at $1199 a ticket.


To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be the business owner or employee of a Gold Coast tourism business
  • be responsible for implementing sustainable strategies within the business
  • commit to the time requirements of the program
  • commit to delivering the proposed outcomes and recommended targets of the program.

Businesses who have been approved under the Queensland Government Department of Tourism and Sport’s Tourism Business Capability Subsidy Program are eligible to apply for an additional grant from us of up to $2000 to cover any other additional costs to all accreditation program/s.

For assessment purposes, please submit a confirmation letter from the Queensland Government outlining the accreditation program/s approved should be submitted in your application.

We will make payments once the accreditation programs are completed. Programs should be completed by 31 October 2024 with invoices submitted by 30 November 2024. This grant subsidises your accreditation for the first year only.

We encourage participation in the following core accreditation schemes:

Core accreditation schemes

Provider eligible accredition/training
Queensland Tourism Industry Council QTAB - Sustainable
Accessible Tourism Program
Risk Management Program
Camp and Adventure Program Accreditation Program
Ecotourism Australia

Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard

ECO Certification:
- Nature Tourism
- Ecotourism
- Advanced Ecotourism



EarthCheck Evaluation
EarthCheck Certified

Caravan Industry Association of Australia

National Accreditation Program

Marina Industries Association

Gold Anchor Global Marina Accreditation
- Self-assessed unrated 3-year participation
- Rated 3-year participation

Clean Marina Program


Phase 1 – Tourism Sustainability Accreditation Subsidy is now open!

  • Opens: May 2024
  • Applications close: 30 June 2024
  • Notification: July 2024

Applications will close when all available funds have been allocated or at our discretion.

Phase 2 will be announced shortly.

How to apply

Complete the following application form.

Apply now

Contact us

For enquiries, please contact us via


City of Gold Coast is partnering with the proposed Future Tourism Co-operative Research Centre. The partnership will drive key projects that will place the Gold Coast at the centre of a proposed $50 million national initiative to support Australia’s transition to a regenerative net zero visitor economy.