Tourism Accreditation and Certification
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.