In November 2022 the Coffs Coast was selected by global organisation Green Destinations’ as having one of the Top 100 Green Destination stories in the world. The Coffs Coast story entry, Two Path Strong, celebrates Aboriginal tourism on the Coffs Coast and the rich culture that has supported the establishment of the first bilingual school of an Aboriginal language in NSW, The Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School (GGFS).
This story of sharing Gumbaynggirr culture and knowledge of Country across the Coffs Coast has now been nominated to receive a Global Green Destinations Story Award, in the Culture and Tradition category. The awards will be judged by sustainable tourism experts from around the world and winners be announced at ITB Berlin on the 7th March 2023 at the Green Destinations Story Awards ceremony.
“We are very excited that our story has been shared with the world and now to be the only Australian story in these global green awards is phenomenal,” says Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) CEO Clark Webb.
“We are honored and proud that the story of our Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School and our award-winning cultural tourism businesses are nominated in the Culture and Tradition category,” says Mr Webb, who is also the owner operator of Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours.
Known as the ‘sharing people’, the Gumbaynggirr people are widely celebrated for giving their abundant food, waterways and knowledge to others, so it’s fitting that they receive international recognition for their success in sustainable tourism and Indigenous education.
Acting General Manager, City of Coffs Harbour, Chris Chapman said: “It’s so exciting to be the only Australian destination nominated in these global awards and I urge people out there to also vote for our destination story in the People’s Choice category.
“Our region is further cementing its status as an ecotourism centre with a significant cultural story that will be shared around the globe.”
Ecotourism Australia CEO, Elissa Keenan added her congratulations. “The Coffs Coast continues to support local sustainable tourism ventures and encourages ECO Certification among local ecotourism and nature tourism businesses elevating their mission to protect the natural landscapes that draw travellers to the destination year after year.”
Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School, NSW first bilingual Indigenous language school is located in Coffs Coast, along with an array of award-winning tours, cafes and cultural experiences run by the Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC). The region is also home to 8 Ecotourism Australia-certified businesses and experiences, with several more being supported by City of Coffs Harbour to achieve Eco Certification over the coming months.
The Coffs Coast became NSW’s first certified ECO Destination in 2021 through a commitment to balance sustainable tourism practices, along with authentic First Nations history, language and culture and world-class nature-based experiences.
The region’s outstanding headlands, waterways, surf beaches, mountains, rivers, National Parks, forest reserves and unique Solitary Islands Marine Park – along with Gumbaynggirr language and culture – are now on the world stage.
Vote for Coffs Coast Destination to win the People’s Choice Award. Voting is open now and ends on January 24that 9am Australian Eastern Standard Time. To ensure fair selection, votes are limited to one per person.