Sustainable tourism certification network

The first Sustainable Tourism Certification Network for the Americas was launched in September at the Regional Conference of the Americas on Sustainability Certification of Tourism Activities

Held in Bahia, Brazil; the conference was organised by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and hosted by the Instituto de Hospitalidade and the Brazilian Government.

It attracted some 170 participants from 22 countries in the Americas and served to agree ways to promote certification systems in tourism, identifying the roles of governments, certification bodies and private tourism and hotel companies. The conference also launched the network as part of an international partnership effort led by the Rainforest Alliance, the World Tourism Organisation, The International Ecotourism Society and the United Nations Environment Programme to help integrate sustainability into tourism policies and set higher environmental and social standards for tourism.

The growth of nature-related and other forms of sustainable tourism has spurred the development of an ever-increasing number of independent certification programmes, all aimed at controlling unchecked development and fostering responsibility among so called 'eco-establishments'. In total, nine certification systems were presented.

The network is intended to encourage dialogue among these various participants and to act as a regional clearing-house for information and technical assistance.

It stems from the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council (STSC) feasibility study, coordinated by the Rainforest Alliance which presented its conclusions in 2003.

The next WTO regional certification conference, for the Asia Pacific Region, is taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 11 and 13 December 2003.

For Further Information Contact
www.world-tourism.org/sustainable

Rainforest Alliance
www.ra.org

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