VISIT Statutes Art. 2  

About this Publication
Foreword
Europe
The European Union
Destinations
Table: core set of indicators
Eco-labelling tourism
The tourism market
The VISIT approach
The VISIT Standard
The VISIT eco-labels
The VISIT message
Easy access to eco-labelled products
The VISIT Association
Outlook 2010
Word of thanks

 

The VISIT association

European platform for eco-labeling in tourism

VISIT stands for “Voluntary Initiative for Sustainability in Tourism”, and was created within the frame of an EU funded LIFE project in tourism eco-labelling. The name outlines the concept of the organisation: a positive collaboration between distinct initiatives working towards achieving sustainability in tourism.

The Association was established in 2004 at REISE­PAVILLON, Europe’s leading Green and Ecotourism Fair. This was the culmination of ongoing liaison and co-operation between a dozen leading tourism eco-labels from 2001 onwards. Eight of these labels (based in the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Latvia, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Luxembourg) founded the organisation together with over 1,500 participating tourism enterprises, as well as strategic bodies as supporters and associates, e.g. the environmental management certificate ECOCAMPING. Further eco-labels, e.g. from Austria and Spain already expressed their interest to join the Association.
In general, the eco-labels involved represent nationally based organisations in (primarily) tourism accommodation.

The alliance between the labels within VISIT is based on mutual understanding and recognition and the agreement to adopt a common standard. This standard sets the framework by which cre­dible tourism eco-labels should operate in Europe. This ensures the consumer has a reliable environmentally-friendly tourism choice and an indication that there are efforts to improve the destination towards more sustainability.

VISIT is the first association of its type anywhere in Europe and its primary goal is to ensure that eco-labelling in tourism is successful, practical and responsible. The secretariat of the organisation is run by ECOTRANS, an international organisation with a strong reputation in establishing effective networks and collaboration between tourism and environmental organisations.

Since its inception in early 2004 the VISIT organisation is encouraging other tourism eco-labels and initiatives to become involved. The main activities planned for the next three years are focused on:

  • Developing promotional campaigns with national and international tour operators
  • Establishing a VISIT Association website as a hub connecting the different participating eco-labels
  • Piloting a verification procedure for eco-labels based on assessing the effectiveness of their management procedures, their auditors as well as a sample of their certified products (those awarded with the eco-label).
  • Creating practical and helpful strategic tools for member eco-labels, such as performance evaluation (benchmarking), promotional messages and market research
  • Maintain and enhance the partnership between separate eco-labelling activities. This will be achieved by co-operation and collaboration within the VISIT Association, as well as with other international initiatives, such as the EU Flower, World Tourism Organisation and Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council.

Membership to VISIT is available at two levels as a full member or as an associate member. Full membership is open to tourism eco-labels. These are environmental certification systems opera­ting in the tourism sector that require an on-site verification undertaken by an independent certification body. All full members of the Association are required to comply with the statutes of the organisation. They must be prepared to recognise other full members as legitimate national eco-labels, co-operate with them, and work towards the objectives as well as meet the common standard of the organisation.
Associate membership is open to any organisation with an interest and/or commitment to the objectives of the VISIT Association.
Membership levels have been set at a low minimum level to establish the organisation and encourage further participation.
The main office bearers in the Association are the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
The Association is registered in the Netherlands, and a copy of the VISIT constitution is available from the VISIT website: VISIT statutes (pdf, 30kb).

VISIT Constitution, Article 2:

Mission statement
VISIT promotes and supports sustainable tourism development through the representation, promotion and mutual co-operation of international, national and regional certification schemes and other voluntary initiatives for sustainable tourism at an international level.
Sustainable tourism is defined as: “tourism development that meets the needs of the present tourists and host regions, while protecting and enhancing the opportunities for future generations. It is envisaged as leading to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled, while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems” (WTO, EU)