The Value of Sustainable Tourism Certification

image of sunbeams filtering through a forest of pine trees with green moss along the forest floor.

In our last blog post, we talked about whether or not sustainability certification is right for your tourism business. For those on the fence about certification, today’s post might address some questions because here we’ll be talking about the value of certification. There are many reasons to move forward with certification depending on your business!

The Value of Becoming Certified

There are typically three key reasons our members choose to embark on sustainable tourism certification:

  1. Marketing & Credibility: tourism businesses today want to be seen as doing the right thing in the face of growing consumer demand for responsible tourism.
  2. Sustainability lens: the certification process allows businesses owners to gain an understanding of where they’re doing really well and where they can improve upon.
  3. Doing the right thing: at their core, many business owners simply want to leave a lighter footprint and do right by the environment.

A lot of our original members (and some of our newer members) are hopping onboard the certification bandwagon not only because they see the value of certification from a marketing- and lens-perspective, but because they really, truly want to be doing something about sustainability or about climate change.

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of those three reasons…

Build Credibility Through Marketing

Sustainable Tourism 2030 is a certification framework first and for us, marketing is a great bonus! We’re here to support businesses through their sustainability journey, get them meeting and exceeding their sustainability goals, and help shout their story from the rooftops. Certification offers businesses added credibility to the sustainability story they’re already telling and helps bring that story through your existing marketing channels.

Once certified through our program, all of our members receive a toolkit on exactly how to market their sustainability story and their achievement of certification. This isn’t a one-time deal: we work with businesses throughout their journey, to weave that story into all of their on-going communications. Equally as important as customer marketing and communications is the story told internally, to the team working to achieve those goals. We offer tips and tools to help integrate that message into all internal operations, in order to generate a shift in workplace culture. After all, change only sticks if everyone is onboard.

Sustainability Lens

Completing an assessment with one of our sustainable tourism-certified assessors means that a business is working through a data-driven, research-backed process in order to discover exactly how their business is performing in each of our key sustainability indicator areas. Our assessment process offers businesses a score based on answers to criteria questions as well as evidence we collect to validate those responses. The outcome is a report that shows exactly how the business has scored, as well as a list of custom recommendations that will show them how to improve their sustainability performance. Even if the marketing component isn’t as important, this can be a very, very valuable tool.

All About Community

Finally: we’re creating a community here at Sustainable Tourism 2030 and it’s growing all the time. More and more, tourism businesses and destinations are really embracing sustainability as a key part of their operations and ethos. One of the key pieces of value in becoming certified is joining this network of sustainable tourism businesses, operators, and generally good human beings that are simply trying to do the right thing.

We hope this sheds some light on the benefits and value of certification with Sustainable Tourism. As always, we are here to help answer questions and walk with businesses through their sustainability journey.