What is sustainable tourism or eco-tourism? It seems a more and more popular option for globally conscious travellers but what criteria determine exactly what such tourism involve? Who decides? Via the Worldwatch Institute , there are now specific criteria determined by a coalition of tourism professional organizations and environmental groups formed into the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria :
"The partnership – a collection of 27 organizations from the tourism industry and environmental community – said the unified standard provides a resource that could become as widely recognized as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label for wood products or the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED designation for green buildings.
"There is mass confusion about what is sustainable tourism," said Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance , which organized the partnership alongside the United Nations Foundation and various United Nations agencies. "This body will help to make this information available…and ensure that it is indeed reliable." (…)
The criteria require that tourism operations conduct their business without having an adverse impact on a destination’s habitats, local communities, or cultural heritage. If widely adopted, the standard could further expand efforts to green the supply chain of hotels and resorts as well as lessen the impact on wildlife and local communities, organizers said."
So what are the criteria ? (Below the fold)