Voluntary Initiatives for Sustainability in Tourism

1. Is voluntary in nature.
2. Maintains a publicly available list of products, which have been awarded the label.
3. Contributes to sustainable tourism development through the verification of tourism products through their performance.
4. Contribute to maintaining and enhancing service quality in tourism in Europe.
5. Recognises other eco-labels meeting the VISIT Standard.
6. Has considered product life cycle issues when setting product related criteria.
7. Requires attainable levels and gives consideration to relative impacts (“per unit”), through measurement, scoring and availability.
8. Is based on sound scientific, engineering, management economic environmental and social principles. The criteria are derived from data that support the claim of sustainable tourism good or best pactice (i.e. environmental, economic and social benefit and/or efficiency).
9. Takes into account, during the process of establishing the criteria, relevant local, regional and global environmental issues,
available technology, and economic and social issues whilst avoiding compromising service quality.
10. Reviews the criteria and product functional requirements within a predefined period.
11. Requires the declaration and compliance of the product to environmental and other relevant legislation as a pre-condition for the applicant to be awarded and to maintain the label.
12. Has selected product criteria, which may relate to impacts on the environment and natural resources or emissions to the environment. Such performance criteria shall be expressed in absolute (numbers) or relative (%) figures and measure units (e.g. kWh, litre, volume, weight per product, room, bed, overnight stay, m²) and may also recommend the exclusion or use of special materials or substances with proven negative or positive impacts respectively.
13. Requires criteria which are relevant in its area of operation and relevant for the specific product group and relate to the impact of the area and product group in relation to sustainable tourism.
14. Shall have management criteria which complement other Environmental Management Systems and include a commitment, suitably informed staff, training, public information and monitoring and measuring procedures.
15. Is accountable to its stakeholders in terms of the labels its development and operation: product categories, product criteria, period of validity of criteria and award, testing and verification methods, certification and award procedures, compliance verification, complaints procedure.
16. Legally protects the eco-label (i.e. the certification mark/logotype) in order to prevent unauthorized use and to maintain public confidence in its brand and or initiative.
17. Is open to all potential applicants of the predefined product group in the area of operation. All applicants who fulfill the ecolabels conditions and criteria are entitled to be granted a license and authorized to use the label.
18. Guarantees that all the elements in the ecolabels conditions and criteria and the product function characteristics are verifiable by the eco-labeling body.
19. Has a verification methodology, which guarantees a high level of reliability. This includes on-site verifications occur as a minimum at least once every three years or certification period which ever is the lesser.
20. Has a set of terms and conditions relating to the overall operation of the programme which control the awarding of the licence and the use of the label.
21. Issues its certification based upon criteria that apply to the site for a predefined period of not more than three years.

(Revised English version 6/2005; full standard and comparison with ISO 14024 published on: www.yourvisit.info)