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Brisbane’s reputation as one of Australia’s fastest-growing sustainable destinations was cemented when it hosted the inaugural Global Sustainable Tourism Summit this month.

More than 280 delegates and passionate sustainable tourism advocates attended the two-day conference from 5 to 6 June, hailing from every Australian state and territory as well as the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Canada and South Africa.

Ecotourism Australia, the nation’s peak body for eco and sustainable tourism, organised the event comprising 62 speakers and 24 keynote and panel session topics, plus an optional pre-Summit Sustainability Tour to ECO Certified attractions and operators in the Scenic Rim Region on 4 June.

The Summit’s theme was People, Planet, Place, Purpose and delegates were inspired to consider the current opportunities, issues and challenges for a sustainable tourism industry.

A slate of impressive speakers and panelists addressed salient topics including collaborating with Indigenous communities, sustainability in the accommodation sector, destination best practice, the future of air travel and accessibility in nature tourism.

Ecotourism Australia CEO Elissa Keenan said the inaugural Global Sustainable Tourism Summit heard from industry-leading experts about how the visitor economy can address sustainability across environmental, cultural and socio-economic impact and business management.

“Hosting the Global Sustainable Tourism Summit at the Pullman Mercure Brisbane King Georgie Square was crucial due to its recognition as one of the first Accor properties to obtain Ecotourism Australia’s Sustainable Tourism Certification. We are proud to partner with Accor to certify their Australian hotels at this standard in the coming years,” said Ms Keenan.

“The Global Sustainable Tourism Summit elevated international standard sustainable tourism initiatives, with more than half of the speakers from ECO and Sustainable Tourism Certified businesses who continue to push the boundaries of what is expected as sustainable in our industry.

“The Global Sustainable Tourism Summit attracted over 280 delegates from all over Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Through the power of authentic and real storytelling by more than 60 industry leaders, the delegates left feeling empowered to make a positive change in their own business and sphere of influence.”

Matching talk with action, the Global Sustainable Tourism Summit implemented several sustainability initiatives to help reduce the Summit’s environmental impact.

Host venue Pullman Mercure Brisbane King George Square is one of the first Sustainable Tourism Certified venues; suppliers provided recyclable, compostable, locally sourced and reusable goods and services; and each delegate had a tree planted in their name in the Cooroy Mountain Wildlife Corridor.

The inaugural Summit further reinforced Brisbane’s position as a globally recognised sustainable city; the only Australian city – and the second city in the world – to achieve gold-level accreditation in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Cities Global Initiative.

As the city’s official Convention Bureau, Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) is committed to maintaining and improving Brisbane’s green credentials through its submission into the 2024 Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement), which ranks cities across environment, social, supplier and destination management categories.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Summit was presented by Summit Partners Tourism

Australia and Accor and Major Sponsor Big Red Group.

For more information about BEDA’s commitment to sustainability, visit

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