For more than two decades the attainment of sustainable environmental quality and the protection of environmental assets have been at the forefront of central policy issues in global tourism development. Recently, it has been argued that collaborative and associative forms of governance among tourism companies and other related agents are growing in importance in the drive for sustainable and environmentally sensitive tourism. Despite the increasing number of debates on the role of networking on tourism they are not well supported by empirical studies, and still far from explain how such networks can contribute to the sustainable development of territories. This paper aims to contribute to previous literature by analysing together governance networks and literature on sustainable development, and by providing empirical findings that highlight the importance of governance networks in sustainable tourism development, the importance of different scales of collaborative governance networks and the role of organisation building for environmentally sustainable tourism development in Antalya. The paper offers analytical findings on the networks of environmental governance among different types of tourism organisations based on a company-level survey, which reveals an increase in local collaboration and self-help networking based on local concerns and endogenous dynamics among the different actors in tourism. Unfortunately, the findings show that environmental motivations fall far behind economic considerations in networking practices. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.