Sustainable Tourism: Organisations Join Forces to Promote Sustainable Tourism
Three of the leading green tourism establishments in the UK have decided to link up in a bid to promote sustainable tourism and hospitality businesses.
The Considerate Hoteliers Association, Green Tourism Business Scheme and Greentraveller.co.uk have joined forces to offer a number of benefits to each other’s members. These include free joining fees and substantial discounts on subscription fees and listings.
Membership of all three organisations is available to a wide range of hospitality and tourism businesses, from B&BS and guesthouses, to restaurants with accommodation and visitor attractions.
The three influential green organisations teaming up together represent a strong alliance for responsible businesses who want to tap into the strengths of each organisation for accreditation and certification.
In fact, the Green Tourism Business Scheme has become the first sustainable certification programme of its kind to be recognised and endorsed by all of the five National Tourism Agencies in the UK and Ireland. The scheme actually started in Scotland some fifteen years ago and has since, been independently validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. It has also been endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.
The scheme has grown to almost 2,500 members and can already boast at being the biggest in the world with influence reaching across the globe from North America to New Zealand. The Green Tourism Business Scheme now operates throughout the UK and Ireland with more than 1,350 certified companies in England, 800 North of the border in Scotland, 100 in Wales, 15 in Northern Ireland and 50 in the Republic of Ireland.
The scheme, which was launched by directors Andrea Nicholls and John Proctor in conjunction with VisitScotland in 1997, provides consumers with an independent guide to visitor attractions, popular tourist areas, hotels and bed and breakfast that are actively trying to help the environment through green initiatives.
Members of the scheme are awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze grade, based on the findings from 145 different criteria, which include the use of local produce, community involvement, the promotion of nature conservation, installation of efficient lighting and heating and the use of renewable energy.
From multi-national hotel chains to independent family run businesses, each is graded using the same criteria with some members admitting that they had reported savings of more than £1 million a year on energy and consumable costs.
Andrea Nichols of the Green Tourism Business Scheme says that the system was well ahead of its time and has been fundamental in helping businesses to meet visitor expectations, by making them more environmentally efficient. She said, “The scheme provides a trustworthy green choice in which consumers can be confident that the business has been checked and is making significant efforts to reduce their environmental impact.”
The Green Tourism Business Scheme has allowed for the balance between socio-economic and environmental criteria of a business to be improved and membership of this scheme is now recognised as a commitment to good green practices within business activity.