The VISIT eco-labels
Special strengths of the VISIT
Each eco-label has its own additional standards which are considered
important to the national or local situation. These may relate to
additional legislation, specific environmental risks, local climatic
factors or relate to the existing achievements of the tourism product
in their operation areas. This tends to ensure that the eco-label
is resticted to the better performing tourism practitioners in their
Such individual strengths can be seeen as justification for the existence
of national eco-labels beside international certification programmes.
They are more appropriate to local situations, they can consider
national standards and strategies when updating their critera and
can more readily develop their scheme for new product groups along
the tourism supply chain. They should be more destination specific
than international schemes, and thus be in a position to exchange
new experiences and maintain their focus on leading the way in sustainable
development in tourism practice.
Some examples of special strenghts and differences:
- Nordic Swan is the only scheme in Europe, which requires numerical
limit consumption criteria per overnight, specified, e.g. for accommodation
with or without swimming pool (water) or for different levels of
altitude (energy, waste, chemicals).
- Das Österreichische Umweltzeichen für Tourismusbetriebe
shows high overlap with the EU Flower and requires additional
criteria with focus on Austrian agriculture and local products.
- Green Tourism Business Scheme is awarded to the widest range
of tourism business types in Europe, including visitor attractions
and distilleries. It shows best success in Europe with 15%
of the accommodation bed nights certified in Scotland.
Label is the first and only full “sustainability
certificate” in Europe with very demanding environmental,
social and economic criteria.
- The Green Key certifies tourism
businesses in a variety of countries in Europe. The Green
Key camping sites are aware of environmental impact and nature
preservation, and the Green Key hotels offer high quality
services combined with a minimal impact on the environment.
From 2004 onwards the Green Key collaborates
with the network behind the Blue Flag campaign.
Turismo is fully controlled by the leading independent environmentalist
organisation in Italy, called Legambiente. It only starts
certification in a region if an agreement of collaboration
with local tourism organisations is signed.
- The Milieubarometer
shows a unique private public partnership with the Dutch Milieukeur
label: businesses reaching the golden level are certified with
- The EcoLabel Luxembourg is based on a strong
public private partnership and offers comprehensive information
and training services for applicants.
- El Distintivo in Catalonia
as a regional governmental eco-label is highly compatible to
the European EMAS, and encourages accommodation businesses to enhance
their environmental management.
- Zalais Sertifikats in Latvia
reduces the cost for on-site audits by collaborating with classification
audits for quality of tourism services.
- Blue Flag International
is the best known tourism eco-label in the world. It proved its
important role in making the European Bathing Water Directive
All together the VISIT eco-labels demonstrate their
high value for sustainable tourism development in Europe by
- showing best practice in the various countries and product groups,
raising the awareness of and gaining recognition by consumers,
- giving orientation to governments on issues with legislation
including the opportunities or requirements to improve,
the tourism supply chain and making connections to green activities
in the destination,
- fostering the demand for eco-labelled and
environmentally-friendly products, i.e. organic food,
with their certified services to sustainable development in their
destinations (see chapter “Destinations”).