There are so many decisions to make when deciding on a vacation – where to go, what type of inclusions you would like, are you looking for a family or a couples trip, flight times, when to travel. But do you look for a hotel that is doings its best to be ecologically responsible and benefit the communities that surround them?
Transat urges its hotelier partners to excel in social and environmental responsibility, and formally recognizes the efforts of lodging establishments that commit to certification in this area. Certified establishments must maintain performance levels to continue using such labels. The indicators used vary depending on the certification scheme, but many certification organizations have begun aligning their benchmarks with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
To help you make an informed choice when you take your next vacation, we’ve listed below the six certifications that Transat recognizes for hotels and beaches.
CERTIFICATIONS FOR HOTELS
Biosphere Responsible Tourism
The Biosphere certification system follows the principles of sustainable development: social and economic accountability, protection of cultural assets and environmental stewardship, tourist satisfaction and the betterment of host communities. Certification is managed by the Responsible Tourism Institute under the terms of a memorandum of understanding with UNESCO. Biosphere Responsible Tourism is the first certification body approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which also recognizes the label “Biosphere Hotel”.
Green Globe is an international certification program for the travel and tourism industry. It is based on stringent criteria and encompasses sustainable development, economic and social issues, cultural heritage and the environment.
The Green Key Eco-Rating Program recognizes efforts by hotel establishments to improve their social and environmental management. Participants complete an online self-assessment questionnaire and may subsequently undergo on site inspection. In return, they are awarded a rating of 1 to 5 Green Keys and provided with guidance on how to reduce their green footprint.
The ISO 14001: 2004 standard was designed to guide any type of organization seeking to develop an environmental management system. This standard provides assurance that an organization’s environmental impact is being formally monitored with the aim of continuously improving resource use, waste treatment, supply-chain management, etc.
Travelife is an international label designed by and for the travel industry. This efficient certification system helps managers in the lodging sector measure and track their social and environmental performance. The certification process involves an online questionnaire as well as third-party auditing of establishments.
CERTIFCATIONS FOR BEACHES
Blue Flag is an international sustainable management program for beaches and marinas. Some 3,800 sites in 46 countries have been awarded the Blue Flag eco-label after demonstrating their compliance with a set of criteria covering such aspects as environmental education to safety, accessibility, quality of facilities and maintenance, as well as water and waste management.