Accreditation and Certification Programs
Accreditation & Certification Programs generally concentrate on
the built environment, with the focus on environmentally friendly infrastructure
design and advanced environmental monitoring
material about local history, flora
guide programs designed to
foster environmental and cultural awareness amongst
and visitors, need to be included. These interpretive criteria
in particular are
popular with resort developments seeking ecotourism commendation.
this recognition is encouraging developers to impliment projects that
are more culturally inclusive and less environmentally
damaging than in the past, the question for many people remains ... is
- Green Tourism
Business Scheme "The GTBS is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK. Originally developed [by] VisitScotland, it is now the only national scheme to be independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland. ...Businesses opting to join Green Tourism are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas, like energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and more." The
scheme was originally established by VisitScotland supported by Scottish Enterprise & Highland
and Islands Enterprise, and after funding stopped in 2001, it became a self-financing
scheme mainly supported
by membership fees.
- The Rainforest Alliance works with hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses to help them improve their environmental, social and economic practices.
- The The Rainforest Alliance Family of Marks "The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior" by bringing together the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas certification programs, including the Sustainable Agriculture Network, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Rainforest Alliance Verified™ marks.
Strategic Overview of Ecotourism Accreditation and Certification:
Road Forward By Fergus Tyler Maclaren, for the International Year
of Ecotourism 2002. "The placing of
the term eco- in front of words such as “sensitive”, “friendly” or
other expressions has often meant some confusion as to what is actually
being defined and to what standard something is being held up to,
to accord it higher regard and acceptance. In the case of ecotourism,
this has often resulted in debate over what its intent actually is,
and in what circumstances it can actually be applied." While
it's getting a bit long in the tooth now, this remains a valuable
- Ecotourism Australia - Eco Certification Program Previously known as NEAP (National Ecotourism Accreditation Program)"The ECO Certification logo is a globally recognized brand which assists travellers to choose and experience a genuine and authentic tour, attraction, cruise or accommodation that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable." EcoLodges of Australia is a marketing consortium of Australia's leading ECO certified accommodation. Definitions,
prices and Criteria summary PDF available for download.
Certification in Sustainable Tourism Program “ (CST)
is a product of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). The CST was designed to differentiate businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.” In
See also Sustainable Design & Management, Academic,
Education & Scientific Organisations, Ecotourism
Papers and Articles and Industry
Associations and Societies
Codes of Conduct, Practice and Operational
While there are many localised Codes for various kinds of tour operations
and for travellers, most aren't specifically formulated in the context
However, we can ensure that all parties are well prepared for the type
of activity they are embarking on, and help minimise adverse impact
on the natural and cultural environments, by adopting
and using an appropriate code of practice. See also Policymaker/Stakeholder
Ed Note: To determine whether your intended activity
is "eco" rather than "nature" based, "outdoor" or "adventure" tourism,
just ask yourself these questions. Is it to primarily be in and enjoy
the natural world? Is it "passive" as opposed
Or is the activity the end in itself? To make the most of the activity,
will you need to be quiet or still, patient, observant, respectful
of boundaries and prepared for some pysical discomfort? Or will
your experiences come to you in air conditioned 5 star comfort, and
do you expect that you will be "whooping and hollering" with
your adrenalin pumping?
- Global Code of Ethics for Tourism from the UN World Tourism Organization. "A fundamental frame of reference for responsible and sustainable tourism, the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (GCET) is a comprehensive set of principles designed to guide key-players in tourism development. Addressed to governments, the travel industry, communities and tourists alike, it aims to help maximise the sector's benefits while minimising its potentially negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage and societies across the globe." This link goes to Full Text Download with PDF format (brochure) in more than 40 UNWTO official languages.
- Antarctic Tour Operators
Guidelines & Resources It's
stating the obvious but I can't resist ... be very, very, very
careful out there. Great resource for stakeholders, academics and operators, and excellent
for would be Antarctic visitors as well, with guidelines
for Visitors and Wildlife
Watching and additional extensive Antarctic
National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2005 One
more click to get to the PDF; which is a bit unfriendly IMO.
Given the popularity world-wide of dolphin and whale watching
along the various migratory paths, html would be preferable.
- Guidelines for approaching marine mammals in Australian waters Easy to read and understand diagrams, with links to each state and territory regulations.
- Ecotourism Association of Australia (EAA) Code of
Practice for Operators Originally developed in the mid '90s,
it's been superseded by the Eco Certification Program,
and other geographically localised programs, but for tourism operators
wanting a brief bullet style introduction, it's a good place to
start. You might even find you're well on the way to accreditation.
- Ecotourism Association of Australia
(EAA) Guidelines for Ecotourists Published in the mid 1990s,
intending "ecotourists" can still benefit by keeping
these guidelines in mind when travelling.
- The International
Ecotourism Society (TIES) Certification and Standards “Handbooks ... developed collaboratively by TIES, Rainforest Alliance and the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, based on a 4-year research project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund. While particularly relevant to the Americas, the handbooks incorporate examples from around the world, as well as lessons learned from certification programs in other industries.” PDF downloads available in English and Spanish, with guides for Users, Funding, Marketing and Financing.
Birding Guidelines "Read the guidelines to understand potential negative impacts that recreational birdwatching and photography may have on birds." Guidelines from Birdlife Australia, the national organisation formed by the merger of Birds Australia, BOCA and participating branches in 2011.
Ecotourism Operators and Agents by Deborah McLaren from October 1996. This is an excellent snapshot of concerns and visions for what "ecotourism" was already beginning to morph away from; that is - conservation and restoration of the environment, and respect and reward for local cultures.
- HOW TO CHOOSE
AN ECOTOUR PROGRAM AND A HOST. "Nowadays more
than ever travelers must actively participate in choosing
their trip facilitators. You can not judge how good programs
or tour hosts are by how glamorous their magazine ads
are, how famous their sponsoring agencies are, or by
whether the guides are locally certified
or accredited! Before a trip takes place, you should
contact the tour host directly, ask probing questions,
and see how your prospective host responds."
Excellent article for travellers, on questions to ask and cationary
tales about choosing your tour guide/s, from the folk at Eathfoot.org.
Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations "Created by the Research, Conservation, and Exploration Division of National Geographic Mission Programs, Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) programs are dedicated to protecting the world's distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship." Yet another ... rose by any other name ... .
Tourism - Travel Code from Andean Web. "As
a traveler, you have a responsibility to help ensure
that tourism in developing countries such as Peru remains
a positive experience for everyone. The following "Travel
Code" offers guidelines for low-impact, culturally
sensitive and environmentally friendly travel."
Concern “Tourism Concern campaigns for better tourism. We are an independent, non-industry based, UK charity, with members and supporters from around the world.”
- Wildlife Tourism
Australia Policies The index page for a number of policies, submissions and best practice documents including Best
Practice Management Guidelines for operators, Planning and managing wildlife encounters, and an extensive list of various Australian tour operator and visitor activities codes under the title of Australian Wildlife Viewing Guidelines.
See also What is Ecotourism?, Accreditation
& Certification Programs, Outdoor Recreation
& Adventure Activities and Tourism Planning and Other Tourism Resources
provide a framework for development of, and appropriate activity
and conduct at sensitive natural and cultural sites.
Natural Heritage Charter: 2nd Edition "for the Conservation
of Places of Natural Heritage Significance Second
edition 2002 Australian Heritage Council.
The Purpose of this Charter is to assist everyone
with an interest in the significance and conservation
of natural heritage. It provides definitions
of terms, a statement of principles and a rational
process for making decisions."
Available online for download in link PDF (266kb).
First: A guide to respecting
Indigenous heritage places and
values 2002 "provides a practical
guide for land developers, land
users and managers, cultural
heritage professionals and many
others who may have an impact
on Indigenous heritage. The title
- Ask First - is the message
of this book; that consultation
and negotiation with Indigenous
stakeholders is the best means
of addressing Indigenous heritage
issues. It is also the first,
and simplest step that people
need to take, and that is to
put the subject on the agenda." In
html and downloadable PDF, as
well as for hardcopy purchase,
the descrription sums it up. This
guide is an excellent resource,
and "must have" for
any individual or organisation
dealing with Indigenous stakeholders
Tourism at Heritage Places: a
guide for tourism operators,
heritage managers and communities 2001 "The
Australian Heritage Council
and the Department of Industry,
Science and Resources with the
asssistance of the Cooperative
Research Centre for Sustainable
Tourism have over the years explored
issues of common concern about
the responsible use of Australia's
heritage places for tourism. This
guide provides information to
help people more clearly understand
the issues involved and includes
practical pointers for those
aiming at successful and responsible
tourism at heritage places."
to sustainable tourism "This document is designed for tourism operators, heritage and environment managers, community groups and others with an interest in places, regions and associated tourism products." In
link PDF (495kb file) download. An
excellent step by step "how-to" guide
for anyone interested in sustainable
on Biological Diversity] >> CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development “International guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile riparian and mountain ecosystems.”
- Principles, Guidelines and Other Tools Developed under the Convention "This page lists some Principles, Guidelines and other tools developed under the Convention. All are available in the six official United Nations Languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian) through associated Conference of the Parties decisions. In the language column on the right, links are made to associated PDF Publications of the Secretariat."
- Global Code of Ethics for Tourism from
the UN World Tourism Organization.
"The global Code of Ethic for Tourism sets a frame of reference for the responsible and sustainable development of world tourism. It draws inspiration from many similar declarations and industry codes that have come before and it adds new thinking that reflects our changing society at the beginning of the 21st century."
Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for
Planning and Management: html page not available. download the PDF here for a total approximately
1.46Mb. UNEP Publication
by Paul FJ Eagles, Stephen F McCool, Christopher
D Haynes. "A landmark publication
jointly published by UNEP, The World Conservation
Unit (IUCN) and the World Tourism Organization
(WTO) is a contribution to the International
Year of Ecotourism 2002. The publication
aims to assist protected area managers and
other stakeholders in the planning and management
of protected areas based on a wealth of practical
case studies and experience."
- UNESCO World Heritage Centre Everything you always wanted
to know about World Heritage but didn't know
where to find it. English, Français. "Protecting
natural and cultural properties of outstanding
universal value against the threat of damage
in a rapidly developing world".
See also What is Ecotourism?, Accreditation
& Certification Programs, Outdoor
& Adventure Activities, Tourism Planning and Other Tourism Resources and Sustainable Design & Management
Footnote 1. Rose by any other name: “What's
in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.” --From Romeo
and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2),
see also phrases.org.uk