Learn more about certification, how it works, the process, and the benefits. Certification sets standards and helps distinguish genuine ecotourism and sustainable tourism businesses from others that make empty claims. This helps to protect the integrity of these concepts. There are a number of other reasons why certification is important.
Benefits for certified businesses:
• Certification helps businesses to improve themselves: going through a certification process is educational. Many certified businesses have stated that one of the greatest benefits of the certification process was to teach them the elements of sustainability in their operations and focus their attention on the changes they needed to make in their businesses. A better-operating business tends to be more efficient and to attract more clients.
• Certification tends to reduce operating costs. This has been found in almost every type of business certification. In tourism, it has been shown to dramatically reduce the costs of water, electricity, and fossil fuels, without reducing the quality of service.
• The process of implementing certification of sustainable tourism is often accompanied by easier access to technical assistance and financing for businesses to implement new technology – the business is educated about these technologies, while donors and financial institutions are more likely to offer low-cost financing.
• Potentially, certification can provide a marketing advantage to certified businesses, as consumers learn to recognize credible certification brands.
Benefits for consumers:
• Certification provides tourists with environmentally and socially responsible choices – it helps consumers to know which businesses are truly socially and environmentally responsible and to make choices on this basis. As certification programs become better known, this may produce tangible benefits in a business’s reputation and popularity.
• Certification in general increases public awareness of responsible business practices.
• Certification can alert tourists to the environmental and social issues in an area, allowing them to act more respectfully or contribute to solutions.
• Certified businesses tend to offer better quality service.
Benefits for the environment and local communities:
• Certification requires the businesses to protect the environment and do little or no damage to it.
• It requires businesses to respect local culture and provide real economic and social benefits for it.
• When the business is economically sustainable, and offers quality of service to ensure that, it is likely to continue offering benefits for the long term.