VISIT eco-labels VISIT eco-labels& EU-flowerStrengths of the VISIT eco-labels  

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The European Union
Table: core set of indicators
Eco-labelling tourism
The tourism market
The VISIT approach
The VISIT Standard
The VISIT eco-labels
The VISIT message
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The VISIT Association
Outlook 2010
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The VISIT eco-labels

Special strengths of the VISIT eco-labels

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 area.

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.
  • Steinbock 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.
  • Legambiente 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 both eco-labels.
  • 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 a success.

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,
  • greening 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,
  • contributing with their certified services to sustainable development in their destinations (see chapter “Destinations”).