Sustainable Tourism is very popular and is used as a marketing method by many hotels and tour operators. Nearly everywhere in tourism industry you can find badges and certificates that seem to confirm that the organization works sustainable. It is important to know where these certificates come from and who issues them.
Most of these labels are issued by companies which usually require a paid membership of the hotel or of the audited organization. But the quality criteria differ significantly from supplier to supplier. While some rely on information given by the hotel or tour operator during the registration procedure and do not check if the provided informations are true, other certificate issuers are really involved in the structures of the certified organization. They offer tools and influence the management, the strategy and the orientation of the company. They act as guidelines and provide standards for international comparisons.
So if you want to rely on sustainability certificates you should invest a little time in research. Often the Internet sites of the certificate issuer already gives a first insight into the standards. One of the most prestigious providers worldwide is Green Globe, whose criteria include sustainable management, social and economic compatibility, cultural relevance, and environmental awareness.
Certifications are a good idea for the development of sustainability standards. However it is always important to look more closely at the issuer of the relevant certificates and their measuring points.