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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)
- A Simple User's Guide to Certification for Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism (pdf)
- Una Guia Simple Para La Certificacion Del Turismo Sostenible Y El Ecotourismo (pdf)
Handbook II (Funding)
- Practical Steps for Funding Certification of Tourism Businesses (pdf)
- Pasos Practicos Para Financiar La Certification De Empresas Turisticas (pdf)
Handbook III (Marketing)
- Practical steps for Marketing Tourism Certification (pdf)
- Pasos Practicos Para Mercadear La Certificacion Turistica (pdf)
Handbook IV (Financing)
- Practical Steps for Financing Tourism CertificationPrograms (pdf)
- Financiamento De Programas De Certificacion (pdf)
*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.
- Guiding Organisations Australia's National Tour Guide Accreditation (October 2006) By Rick Murray
- UNEP Consultative Meeting on Sustainable Tourism Certification (February 2006) by Alice Crabtree
- Green Globe 21 Ecotourism Standard (February 2006) by Alice Crabtree
- Critical review of certification and accreditation in sustainable tourism governance by Xavier Font
- Nature-Based Tourism and Ecotourism Accreditation in Tasmania, Australia by Matysek and Kriwoken
- Designing & Marketing an Eco-Certification Program (December 2003) by Boulden, Escudero, and Weiss
- Protecting Paradise: Certification Programs for Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism (October 2001) by Martha Honey and Abigail Rome