SUSTAINABLE TOURISM | Resources
Tourism Accreditation & Certification
Certification is popular subject in tourism and sustainability. Some in the industry say it doesn’t address the critical mass while others say it is the only way to stop greenwashing. In late 2008, the global partnership for sustainable tourism criteria was formed. In 2009, a global body was formed the GSTC.
Certification can be described as the process of assuring industry and consumers that the assessed company has met a set of minimum standards.The purpose of certification has been to achieve voluntary standards which meet or exceed baseline standards or legislation
(Source: Dodds & Joppe, 2005)
Certification in tourism has always been a tumultuous affair and there is continuous debate especially as less than 1% of tourism industry suppliers are certified.
Some certification schemes which are well known in the tourism industry include:
- VISIT initiative – initiative to link up european ecolabels
- ECEAT – European program for green farm holidays
- Green Tourism Business Scheme – Scotlands certification program
- Green Globe 21 – global implementation program for all forms of tourism.
- Eco Brasil
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – certified mainly larger hotels and tour operators for environmental or quality assurance – ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and the newly formed ISO 2600
- Rainforest Alliance
- SmartVoyager certification program is an Ecuadorian nonprofit group — and the Rainforest Alliance, SmartVoyager minimizes the impact of tour boats in the Galapagos Islands by improving social and environmental conditions of boat operations.
- Nordic Swan
- Viabono – Germany
- Pan Parks
- Fair Trade in South Africa – one of the newest initiatives dealing with fairtrade tourism
- Green Key, NL– (Environmental Barometer) is the Dutch ecolabel for companies in the leisure sector.
- Blue Flag Campaign – certification for beaches
- Audubon – certification for golf courses
- Green Key – Accommodation certification in Lithuania, France, Denmark, Greenland, Sweden
- Nature’s Best– Swedish ecotourism certification program
- Green Flag – for parks and green spaces in the UK
- An analysis of certification schemes done by the WWF
- Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry – a practical guide of indicators
- Sustainable Travel International STEP program
- Clean Marine program – certification for marinas
- However, be careful as not all certification schemes have third party audits such as the Green Hotels Association (Canada) -this information on how hotels are reducing their impact on the environment is only a checklist rather than an audited scheme.