Folder Certification & Marketing

About this topic                                                                       
Certification, based on transparent and objective procedures, provides a reliable basis for identifying tourism businesses (and sometimes destinations and other services) that meet sustainability criteria. It provides guidance for travelers and other purchasers and a checklist and target for businesses to work towards. More generally, effective marketing of tourism products and offers that embrace sustainability, relating this to the quality of the offer and the visitor experience, is critically important to success.
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There are more than 100 independent certificates for environmentally friendly and/or socially responsible "sustainable" tourism services, destinations and tour operators reflecting worldwide diversity based on local circumstances. A set of Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for hotels and tour operators has been developed to harmonize the discussion on what sustainable tourism means for business development, giving guidance to regional, national and international certificates and other stakeholders in the global market place.

We are currently witnessing the linking of quality and sustainability evaluation processes, in which the assessment of product and service quality requires the inclusion of sustainability criteria and vice-versa. This combined approach addresses the need for sustainable businesses and destinations to be competitive and give customer satisfaction.

Marketing and branding of certified tourism have become important features of sustainable tourism development. The growing number of marketing tools and channels reflect the diversity of tourism worldwide.

Increasing the coverage of sustainability issues, ensuring the transparency of standards and procedures, maintaining the credibility of assessments and promised qualities, and improving visibility of the best choices are key to raising the market share of sustainable tourism. Independent control and financial affordability are essential to secure the short and long term participation of tourism businesses and stakeholders.

Helping you further ...

Experience shows that improved implementation of certification schemes requires a multi-stakeholder process. All stakeholders have a role to play in making certification a success, and in many cases the same applies to raising quality and improving marketing.

Who is who?

Who is who brings you to stakeholders who are working for making tourism more sustainable. You can filter them on the DestiNet Atlas for your topic of interest, keywords, type of organisation, country, operational level and landscape type. You can display an organisation on the global DestiNet Atlas and ask for editing rights if your organisation should already be listed.


Resources include publications and tools who can help you in making tourism more sustainable. You can filter them for your topic of interest, keywords, landscape type, country - or target group. You can disseminate your sustainable tourism publications or tools and ask for editing rights if they should already be listed.

Good practice

Good Practices present tourism businesses, tour operators, destinations and initiatives who have been finalist or winner of an award or prize for sustainable tourism. You can search in the "Atlas of Excellence" for your topic of interest, keywords, landscape type, country, a.o. If you have been finalist or winner of an award you can ask for being presented on the "Atlas of Excellence" and ask for editing rights if you should already be listed.

Market place

The global sustainable tourism Market Place presents accommodation providers and restaurants, attractions and activities, travel packages, destinations, tour operators and intermediaries who have been certified by a sustainable tourism certification programme. You can filter them on the DestiNet Atlas for their certificate/s, keywords, topics, landscape types, country, a.o. The Market Solutions lead you to more than 100 certification programmes and other services helping you in making your tourism products and services more sustainable. You can place your product or service on the global sustainable tourism Market Place and ask for editing rights should your service already be listed.


The Observatory section leads to organisations, initiatives and tools for observing, monitoring and reporting the sustainable development of your business or destination.


Under each Topic you can join or start an own user group for exchange and networking e.g. with the members of your organisation, your network or project group. For further information please contact the topic folder administration.


Your contribution?

On the topic "Assessment, certification and marketing" DestiNet provides you a lot of helpful organisations, good practice examples, tools and publications -  share your own information and good practices on "My DestiNet"!

Governmental bodies can support the development and operation of quality assessment and voluntary certification to support policy beyond what may be covered by legislation and to stimulate innovation. They should ensure the credibility and independence of an systems and promote sustainable enterprises and associated offers in marketing programmes.

NGOs can represent environmental, social, cultural and economic interests in the design and operation of certification schemes and associated communication.  Networks of stakeholders can work together towards certification, encouraging and supporting each other in the process.

Researchers and consultants contribute to the development of standards (criteria, indicators) and to the implementation of certification programs, including acting as auditors and providing training. Schools and universities should integrate sustainability assessment tools and standards in their curricula, field work and research.

Destinations can use and promote certification to back up their sustainable development policy and strategy and stimulate more adherence by local business and other stakeholders to sustainability. They are also central to marketing efforts to promote relevant offers and brand messages.

The participation of tourism businesses along the supply chain (transport, accommodation, catering, activities, visitor attractions, travel packaging and selling) is essential for the success of voluntary certification.  All schemes must be designed to be valuable to businesses and can help them achieve both cost savings and visibility, in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR), backed up by marketing.


Certification and effective, reliable marketing provide travellers with reliable information about sustainability to inform their choices.  By reporting their experiences, travellers contribute to transparency, give orientation to other travellers and valuable feedback to tourism businesses, marketing organizations and certification bodies.

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