Certification and Standards

Certification and Standards

Certification and Standards

What is Certification?

Certification programs in the tourism industry serve as important tools for distinguishing genuinely responsible companies, products, or services from those that are merely using "eco-" or "sustainable" as a marketing tool to attract consumers.


Ecotourism Handbooks on Certification

These handbooks were 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.


Available in English and Spanish, the handbooks illustrate how to advance tourism certification as a useful and reliable tool for travel consumers and businesses, and provide practical information on how tourism certification works, what funding mechanisms and resources can assist businesses seeking certification, how to effectively market and finance certification programs.


Handbook I (User's Guide)

Handbook II (Funding)

Handbook III (Marketing)

Handbook IV (Financing)

*If you're interested in learning more, please consider joining TIES to access our eLibrary and other member resources.



Reports: Sustainable Tourism Certification & Standards

The following reports are available for download from TIES eLibrary.


*Access to TIES eLibrary is limited to TIES members. If you're not yet a member and would like to learn more about member benefits, please review member levels and benefits here.


Latest News and Articles on Certification

Vanuatu Tourism Accreditation Submitted by Jerry Spooner   Background   The Government of Vanuatu through the Department of Tourism, solely responsible for the development and management of Tourism Products and Services within the Destination has to date developed its own Accreditation Program. The key focus of the program is to highlight the need to set and enforce minimum standards throughout the tourism sector. The Program has developed standards for multiple types of tourism operations including accommodation, land/air/water transport and tour operators. The Standards are...
    Eco-friendly tourist accommodation on the rise Sustainable tourism is becoming ever more mainstream. Ecotourism, no longer necessarily a walk through the wilderness, can be experienced closer to home: travellers mindful of their environmental impact, who take measures in their daily life to reduce this impact, expect to be able to find their values reflected and enhanced in their holiday accommodation, without having to pay a premium. Good business sense on the owners’ part also guides them towards the adoption of energy-saving measures and other...
Botswana Ecotourism Certification System Botswana Tourism realizes that "green" is more than just a color or concept – it is a way of life. Botswana's commitment to the conservation of its natural resources, rich wildlife, and cultural heritage was formalized in 2002 with the inception of the country's National Ecotourism Strategy, which positions Botswana as a leading sustainable tourism destination and has led to the development of the Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, a voluntary, tourism industry-wide program run by Botswana Tourism.   The...
Japan Environmentally Sustainable Accommodations International Standard is recognized for implementing the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the worldwide minimum requirement for tourism businesses of all size to approach sustainability.   WASHINGTON, D.C., December 18, 2012 - The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announces that Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA) has attained the organization's "recognized" certification status for its Japan Environmentally Sustainable Accommodations International Standard (ESAIS). The awarded status benchmarks its...
Piatra Craiului National Park, Romania     Report by: Ayako Ezaki, Director of Communications, TIES   Earlier this month, while those in the United States – and many from the rest of the world – were anxiously waiting to find out who will be leading the world's largest economy for the next four years, in the small Eastern European country of Romania, important decisions were being made, locally and nationally, that will impact the direction of the country's economy in the coming years.   Romania in the post-Communist era has undergone...
National Ecotourism Conference, Bucharest, Romania, November 2, 2012 (Photo by Raluca Munteanu)   The Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism of Romania, in partnerships with the National Institute for Research and Development in Tourism (INCDT) and the Association of Ecotourism in Romania (AER), has developed a new framework for identifying and certifying ecotourism destinations in Romania.   By adopting this framework, the destinations that meet certain criteria may obtain the status of "ecotourism destinations" which will be included in the national...
Soomaa National Park, Estonia Workshop: June 29th, 2012 The ECOLNET workshop "Learning and Certification to Raise the Ecotourism Quality", being held on Friday, 29th June, will be available to online participants to view and join discussions via live-streaming (9:30–16:30 CEST) and via Twitter (hashtag #euroeco).   Workshop speakers and topics include: Fouli Papageorgiou, Centre for Development Studies, Greece - "Introduction to the ECOLNET project, the European Ecotourism Network and the European Ecotourism Labelling Standard (EETLS)" Zoltan...
Vienna, VA, May 30, 2012 – Greenloons recently added third-party-certified eco-travel, lodge-based options and programs on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and in Kenya and Peru, announced Irene Lane, Greenloons founder. "What's especially nice about these lodges is that their sustainably directed amenities and programs can be enjoyed by all of their visitors, not just those coming in as part of a group," said Lane. "This means a lot to families and couples traveling independently who are looking for serendipitous, authentic experiences."   While the...
Criteria for Sustainable Destination The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has announced the release of their Criteria for Destinations. The criteria are a set of guiding principles and performance indicators designed to lead destination managers, communities, and businesses on a path to sustainability: maximizing social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits while minimizing negative impacts. The Destination Criteria complement the existing GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators.   The GSTC is inviting industry stakeholders to participate in the public...
Eco-Certified Vacations in Alaska, Galapagos, Sweden, Patagonia   Vienna, Virginia/United States, February 15, 2012 - Sustainable travel trail blazer Greenloons announces the addition of Alaska and Galapagos cruise companies as well as land operators in Sweden and Patagonia, all eco-certified by qualified third parties, to its growing list of resources for travelers seeking sustainable vacation options.   Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, said the "green travel" market is estimated to be growing 5% annually worldwide, representing 6% of the world's GDP and...


About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

Connect to Us   

Become a Fan of TIES   Share Your Videos with TIESLinkedIn   Pinterest

   Google Plus Vimeo