VISIT Holiday GuideGreen Travel MarketCo-operating with the travel industryExemplary collaboration  

About this Publication
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
Easy access to eco-labelled products
The VISIT Association
Outlook 2010
Word of thanks


Easy access to eco-labelled products

In order to move the market towards sustainability it is essential to create an overview of existing eco-labelled products. Up until 2003 such an overview did not exist. As part of the VISIT initiative two database powered websites have been established to offer consumers and tour operators full and free access to all accommodation and other tourism services certified by the VISIT eco-labels; these are the “VISIT Holiday Guide” and the “Green Travel Market”.

VISIT Holiday Guide: the European guide with a ’Plus’ in Environmental Quality.

The VISIT Holiday Guide was launched in 2003 under the motto “Your visit makes the difference”. It is available online in English, German and Dutch, and provides a detailed and structured description of more than 1,000 hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday houses, youth hostels, camping sites and restaurants, combined with attractive pictures. As added value to their environmental certificate they all offer a ‘Plus’ in quality.
Thus, for the first time ever, consumers can find appropriate environmentally-friendly accommodation for their next holiday just by clicking on holiday destinations on the map of Europe.
The VISIT eco-labels in Austria, France, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Latvia guarantee that their awarded businesses conform to high standards in all important environmental aspects, and that these are checked on-site by independent auditors. In addition, the VISIT Holiday Guide also promotes more than 2,000 beaches and 600 marinas certified by the well-known Blue Flag International. / -> VISIT Holiday Guide; Search: Accommodation


Green Travel Market: sustainable tourism information service for tour operators

The Green Travel Market is an online “business to business” service for tour operators, journalists and other professionals. It gives up-to-date and reliable information on existing eco-labelled and “Fair Trade” tourism products. All sustainable products presented on this virtual market place have been screened on quality and sustainability aspects. Different types of highly sustainable tourism products along the “tourism supply chain” participate in the Green Travel Market: destinations, protected areas, accommodation networks, individual accommodation, community based tourism networks, visitor attractions and activities, excursions and tours, incoming tour operators and transport services. This market offers a wide array of services to help tour operators to integrate sustainable products into their packages. A team of professional matchmakers from different countries is assisting interested tour operators in finding reliable partners, and creating highly sustainable and exciting tour packages.
Registration is free and provides access to a growing database of attractive sustainable tourism products from all over the world.


Co-operating with the travel industry

Tour operators, travel guides and tourism promotional boards play an important role in informing consumers. Different strategies are needed, each catering for their own target groups.

1. Reaching the highly motivated consumers: integrated quality products for niche markets

An estimated 2 - 5% of consumers give high priority to environmental and sustainable aspects in their decision making process. They take an active approach towards environmentally-friendly products and this group could trigger the further development of sustainable products. In order to reach this small but p ioneering group of “be­lievers”, certified products will have to be grouped and branded based on their specific qualities in co-operation with specialised marketing networks, travel book publishers, niche tour operators or specific brands of larger tour operators.
A good example of branding environmentally-friendly products is the Green Holiday Guide issued by the Dutch Touring Club ANWB in co-operation with ECEAT. The guide contains 1.000 environmentally-friendly rural accommodation services/businesses. Other examples are the GRECOTELS, the BIOHOTELS, the niche tour operators associated with the German forum anders reisen, or VIABONO in Germany.

2. Reaching wider target groups: integrate and Indicate “eco-labelled” products within conventional marketing channels

About 30 – 60% of the consumers are willing to take into account environmental and social considerations while booking their holiday. However, for this group sustainability issues are only a final argument after priority has been given to other aspects, such as: country, region, price, kind of accommodation, atmosphere, activities and attractions offered. In order to reach and inform these wider tourist target groups, labelled products should be integrated into conventional marketing channels and presented in an attractive manner next to non-labelled products. Consumers should be given the option to choose. To reach this goal VISIT co-operates closely with mainstream marketing organisations, such as:

  • Travel guides publishers
  • Hotel and accommodation guides and websites
  • Tourism promotion boards
  • Tour operators

VISIT supports these tourism marketing organ­isations to include more certified products in their existing offers, and to identify and indicate existing certified products.

To indicate eco-labelled products in travel books, tour operators’ catalogues and websites different options are provided:

  • Indication of the specific logo of the (national) certification scheme.
  • Indication with the international VISIT umbrella logo together with the message: Certified by one of the VISIT eco-labels.
  • Indication with a special symbol - e.g. a “green star” - only used by the specific tour operator or information channel. The message is again: Certified by one of the VISIT eco-labels.