Ecotourism providers are advised to seize the benefit of certification to improve their environmental, social and economic performance, while reducing their operating costs.
“(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 standards,” said Susan Santos Cardenas, president and chief executive officer of Society for Sustainable Tourism.
Cardenas said it provides a marketing advantage to certified businesses as consumers learn to recognize credible certification brands.
“(This also offers) easier access to technical assistance and financing for businesses to implement new technology,” she added.
Candenas said guests, local government units, destination management organizations, environment and local communities also stand to benefit from certification of businesses.
She said it provides guests with environmentally and socially responsible choices while governments protect their market niches as eco-tourism or sustainable tourism destinations, especially when the credibility of the destination is threatened by greenwashing.
“(It) raises standards in health, safety, environment, and social stability; (and) lowers the regulatory costs of environmental protection requiring economic benefits to communities,” she added.
Candenas said attention to sustainable tourism has been increasing.
“Travelers will not select you because you are safe and sustainable but they will avoid you when you are not,” she said. – Press release