Voluntary Initiatives for Sustainability in Tourism
Ecolabels ~ Code Of Conduct


It should be accepted by all full members of VISIT that other full members of VISIT are legitimate Ecolabels with an expertise at least achieving a reasonable standard in sustainable tourism accreditation. It should be recognised by all members of VISIT of the enormity of the task in achieving sustainability in Tourism and that only through a spirit of genuine information exchange, mutual respect, and collaboration will VISIT be able to be an effective forum for change in the Sustainable Development movement. In order to protect the interests of the member organisations and encourage the sharing of expertise and experience in a mutually beneficial way for all members the following code of conduct has been prepared. Failure to adhere to the code of conduct may lead to expulsion and this will be decided at a general assembly as per the VISIT constitution.


1. accepts all other ecolabels provided with full member status as meeting the VISIT standards.
2. accepts the VISIT standards as a reasonable standard for the provision of a sustainable tourism award for tourism services
3. is required to provide and update the VISIT board (and the other Full members) with details of i, the existing geographical boundaries of the ecolabel, ii, the existing product group range available for certification, iii, the present and future plans of the label with regard to the growth of the ecolabel and its development.
4. respects the (sovereignity) role, reponsibilities and activities of the other full members of VISIT and the other full members right to exist.
5. will not contact full member products (licencees) without the express permission of that full member.
6. will not undermine, create bad publicity, reduce standards, or provide special offers to the labelled products of other full members (or their market niche) without their approval.
7. will seek to avoid competition and will commit to resolve and avoid conflicts with other full members.
8. the operating areas of the existing full members will be outlined by VISIT and these areas of activity will be respected by all full members. Areas of overlap will; i, form the basis of discussion between labels for joint promotion and co-operation, ii, require that full members resolve potential conflicts before they are likely to occur.
9. should an invitation be received by a full member to undertake a certification in another full members area of activity/geographical region, the full member is required to inform the other member and discuss mutually acceptable terms for their certification to avoid conflict or the potential erosion of higher standard ecolabels to lower ones.
10. in the event of a conflict between full members both parties will be invited to take part in a board meeting or technical committee meeting to resolve differences equitably.
11. in the event of a dispute remaining between labels both parties will be required to present their cases to the general assembly where both or either parties may be expelled.
12. should an ecolabel be observed to maintain an approach of creating conflicts with other ecolabels (full members), creating a climate of lowering standards within the VISIT organisation and otherwise fail to uphold the principles of sustainable development in practice, the label may be required to make a written account of their development plans and these and their labelled products may be scrutinised by a peer group for re-evaluation as a full member.
13. full members are required to disclose to VISIT their memberships of any other tourism ecolabel associations, their legal status and ownership and formal relations or agreements with any other full members.
In future VISIT shall give a guarantee of minimum standard for the operation of a type I Tourism Ecolabel to the consumer and the licencee (business choosing a VISIT accredited Ecolabel). The minimum standard is based on the VISIT accreditation system.

Place, Date: Riccione, 12th November 2004