As a tour operator or accommodation, if you've worked hard to make sure you meet best practice in the tourism industry, it's nice to be rewarded. Accreditation also tells your travelers you have a seal of approval from a recognised organisation. There are many different accreditation schemes and awards depending on what you do and where you do it.
The following accreditation schemes are widespread in particular regions so we would expect potential Responsible Travel members to be accredited by them. In addition to joining a scheme, all Responsible Travel members need to supply a ‘making a difference’ statement explaining how the vacation or accommodation is run in a way that minimises the negative impacts and increases the positive ones on the local community and the environment.
The The Green Tourism Business Scheme
The Green Tourism Business Scheme
(GTBS) is the leading sustainable tourism certification scheme in the UK. Businesses opting to join 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. Businesses that meet the required standard, receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award based on their level of achievement. The GBTS has been running since 1997 and with over 2,000 members across the whole of the UK (as of 2015) it is the largest and most established scheme of its type in the world. The current network of members is comprised of a wide range of business types, including accommodation providers, visitor attractions, corporate offices and others.
The EU Ecolabel
is available for a range of products and services, from paints and paper to textiles and cleaning products. The scheme, which has been designed and is overseen by the European Commission, sets out specific ecological criteria with which products must comply in order to be certified as environmentally friendly. The awarding of the label is independently verified and endorsed by the European Commission. The EU Ecolabel is a recognised environmental quality mark across the countries of the EU and in Norway and Liechtenstein. As of 2015, over 2,000 products have received the EU Ecolabel – including over 630 tourist accommodation services.
The Green Key
The Green Key
is an international eco label awarded to companies within tourism: hotels, youth hostels, conference- and vacation centres, campsites, vacation houses, leisure facilities and restaurants. It originated for hotels in Denmark in 1994 and in 1998 France joined and started labelling camping sites. Today, criteria are available for hotels, camping sites, hostels, summer houses, restaurants, leisure facilities, and conference facilities; as of 2015, around 2,400 businesses have been awarded the Green Key in 50 countries. Not all criteria are available in all countries. It is an ongoing work to develop criteria for the international campaign.