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Publication / Handbook

The Eco-Destinet Partnership has produced the Handbook to Ecotourism Labeling Criteria and Good Practises in Europe, available in English,  which is part of the training material of the project.

The Handbook is based on the ECO-ROUTE handbook and has been expended with new data regarding European Ecotourism and global certification initiatives. The guide has four main parts:

  • Introduction
  • 1st Part: A presentation of selected International, European and National Tourism Certificates. The European atlas to Sustainable and Eco-Tourism certification schemes.
  • 2nd Part: Assessment of a selection of the described labels against the draft EETLS criteria.
  • 2.1 What does eco-tourism mean for tourism services and tour operators?
  • 2.2 How do certificates reflect the principles and criteria of eco-tourism?
  • 3rd Part: How to realize the criteria: Recommended indicators for Ecotourism certification in Europe
  • 4th Part: Best Practice examples.

In the introduction the guide includes information on ECO-DESTINET and briefly talks on contemporary issues on Ecotourism, with an emphasis to certification.

The 1st part is a presentation of selected European certificates that are either ecotourism specific or bare relevance to ecotourism.

The 2nd part introduces the role of certification to ecotourism businesses and elaborates on the GSTC initiative and its role in future developments on sustainable tourism and ecotourism internationally. Following the presentation of GSTC the EETLS are described in detail, elaborating on the methodology used and its potential role for European Certification. A indicative comparison of how the EETLS compares to criteria used by current European certification initiatives is also included, together with thoughts on compatibility with current and future initiatives.

The 3rd part gives a brief overlook on the indicators used by EETLS and elaborates on the use of indicators for designing a system that can be inclusive of European issues in Ecotourism, while also being flexible enough in order to be easily adapted to local needs.

Best practise examples are the 4th and last part of this publication which presents in a practical and real way how certification in ecotourism and sustainable tourism can have a positive effects to sustainable development and local economies. An appendix has been included which contains up to date information on all major certification initiatives in Ecotourism in Europe and Globally.