Being certified for responsible tourism has many advantages for your business. It takes about 15 minutes to complete this preliminary assessment and after completion you will have a good idea if you are ready for a formal assessment to take place at your premises.
The assessment for Responsible Tourism is broken up into four parts. You can complete each of these parts separately and in any order you choose.
The organization’s ability to successfully implement the triple bottom line of responsible tourism is dependent on a sound sustainable operations and management criteria. Through these criteria, the organization will develop and implement a responsible tourism policy that will guide the operations of the entity in the implementation of the responsible tourism practices. The importance of conforming to legislative requirements is an indispensable requirement for any business to be a legal entity and these criteria cast more light on the numerous legislative requirements and give guidance, through the interpretation guide on how to meet the legislative requirement. The criteria also assist tourism entrepreneur’s with the development of a sustainable long-term management system inclusive of an adequate budget for operational procedures.
This criteria endeavor to assist tourism entrepreneurs to instill and practice respect for local culture and support for social development as being an integral part to the implementation of responsible tourism practices. Providing support with education and healthcare and contributing to social infrastructure development promotes goodwill and help to improve the local quality of life. These criteria will therefore assist tourism operators to develop and implement responsible tourism practices that will ensure mutual co-existence and benefit for the local community. These criteria will, for example encourage your organization to showcase local community projects on the company’s notice board and inform tourists how to interact with local communities and respect local culture and customs.
The consumption of renewable sources in South Africa far exceeds replacement capacity and the environmental criteria are designed to assist organisations with the optimum utilization of natural resources. These criteria emphasize the notion that South Africa is one of the few developing countries where it is safe to drink tap water. However water in South Africa is limited, requiring significant efforts from tourism businesses to play a sterling role in assisting to save water for future usage. The conservation of energy resources through efficient utilization and using clean energy sources such as solar and wind power, to reduce pollution and minimize negative environmental is also a priority for these criteria. The criteria also emphasis the importance of implementing a waste management plan, addressing both solid and liquid waste, with quantitative goals to limit waste produced.
The economic criteria assist tourism operators to understand and implement responsible tourism measures that maximize the economic impact of tourism on the local community. The criteria outline measures that will for example minimize the revenue that “leaks” out of the local area by employing and purchasing locally produced goods and services, setting up business relationships with local people to create employment and stimulate entrepreneurial activities. Local communities who are involved in and are part of tourism operation will actively seek to sustain it and contribute to a positive tourism experience for visitors. Supporting local economic growth is therefore key to long term success for a thriving tourism business.