Certification Programs

Consolidated Programs in the Americas

Brazilian Standard NBR ABNT 15.401 — Sustainable Management for Accommodations

The standard developed by the PCTS (Programa de Certificação em Turismo Sustentável) was adopted as an official standard for Brazil in 2006. In 2009, two certifiers, Falcão Bauer and ABNT, were accredited by Inmetro and the first hotel certified. Updates on certification in Brazil are available at www.ecobrasil.org.br.

Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), Costa Rica

CST seeks to categorize and certify tourism companies according to the degree to which they comply with specific indicators of sustainability. CST was launched in 1997 and it currently provides certification services to hotels and tour operators.

GREAT Green Deal, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico

GREAT Green Deal shares environmental, socio-cultural and entrepreneurial knowledge and experiences in order to support small and medium sized businesses to increase profitability and competitiveness through implementing quality systems and sustainable tourism best practices for its operations. GREAT Green Deal provides certifications for: hotels, resorts & spas, eco-lodges & rural-lodges, restaurants, tour operators, transportation business and community based tourism projects. Our evaluation tools are based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, and our prices are suited for small and medium sized enterprises. Our acronym GREAT means: for a Green, Responsible, Exclusive and Amazing Tourism.

Green Globe, Worldwide

Green Globe is the Premier Worldwide Certification for the Travel & Tourism Industry founded in 1993. Green Globe is an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO). The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) holds a 5 percent ownership in Green Globe International. Green Globe provides certifications for the following categories: Hotels/Resort, Attraction, Business, Transportation, Organization, Restaurant, Golf Course, Tour Operator, Destination Management Company and Destination. Certifications are available in English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. Green Globe Certifications can be obtained from the following Green Globe Alliance members: TUEV Rheinland (Europe), Heritage (South Africa), Avireal (Middle East), Sustainable Travel International (USA), Chattanooga Green (USA) and Green Globe Mexico. For detailed information, please visit www.greenglobecertification.com.

For more information, please contact wecare@greenglobecertification.com. In Mexico, please contact ggmexico@greenglobe.com.mx.

Green Seal, USA

Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion.

For more information, contact greenseal@greenseal.org.

Mexican Regulation NMX-AA-133-SCFI-2006, Mexico

The purpose of the ecotourism certification through the Mexican Regulation NMX-AA-133-SCFI-2006 is to identify tourism products that incorporate optimal sustainable performance and achieve environmental, social and economic benefits, and to increase their competitiveness in the tourism industry. A third party social environmental assessment is performed that looks at the business’ code of ethics, internal policies, territorial environmental plan, and active involvement in the community. Both facilities and activities are eligible for certification.

For more information, contact Gabriela Mercado.

Smart Voyager, Ecuador

The Smart Voyager program is managed by Conservación y Desarrollo, an Ecuadorian citizens’ group that carries out both research and integrated conservation and development projects in a number of rural communities. Smart Voyager awards its green seal of approval to hotels and boats that meet a set of strict conservation standards.

Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP), USA

STEP is the world’s first comprehensive, global sustainable tourism eco-certification program offered by a non-profit organization, which is aligned with the minimum baseline Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and impending global accreditation. STEP is designed to be user-friendly, educational in nature, practical as a measurement and management tool, and applicable to tourism businesses of all sizes, including newcomers to sustainability, those wanting to improve their existing approach, and businesses that have long-standing sustainability programs. Companies in all sectors of the travel and tourism industry and communities can be eco-certified through STEP.

For more information, contact info@sustainabletravel.com.

Consolidated Programs in the Americas for Beaches

The Beach Quality Certificate, Mexico

The Beach Quality Certificate is a voluntary program run by the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources) (SEMARNAT) and supported by other organizations and institutions.

For more information, contact: certificacion.playas@semarnat.gob.mx

Blue Flag, International

The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to over 3300 beaches and marinas in 36 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. The Blue Flag Programme is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

For more information, contact: coordination@blueflag.org

Programs in Development in the Americas

Programa de Certificación de Turismo Rural Sostenible de la Sociedad Uruguaya de Turismo Rural, Uruguay

The Programa de Certificación de Turismo Rural Sostenible de la Sociedad Uruguaya de Turismo Rural wants to give significative and differential excellence in image and the operator tourism service offer in rural environment.

Quality Tourism for the Caribbean (QTC), Barbados, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the nine countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States

QTC is a joint venture of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, the environmental regional subsidiary of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre intended to address the health, hygiene and resource management issues facing the Caribbean tourism industry.

The Uruguayan Society of Rural Tourism (SUTUR), Uruguay

SUTUR is developing a certification program specializing in rural community tourism.

For more information, contact: patricia@lasirena.com.uy

Programs on Other Continents Collaborating with the STCNA


The DestiNet portal gives access to information about sustainable tourism certification programs, awards and initiatives, tools and good practice examples world wide.. DestiNet is run by the ECOTRANS, the European network for sustainable tourism development, in partnership with the European Environment Agency (EEA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

European Union Eco-Label

European Union Eco-Label Web site offers general information about this green product certification program, along with news about sustainable production and consumption in Europe. Be sure to check out their interactive catalog The Green Store of certified products in Europe, which includes tourism businesses.

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA)

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable tourism development through awareness raising, research and advocacy, capacity building and by facilitating the world’s first tourism Fair Trade certification programme.

Voluntary Initiative for Sustainability in Tourism (VISIT)

As a consortium of thirteen European countries and Blue Flag International, VISIT’s mission is to develop a common platform for eco-labels and to demonstrate the potential of certification programs.