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  • Writer's pictureNancy Arsenault

TripAdvisors Green Leaders Program Certifies and Rewards Sustainable Tourism

Just wanted to share news of TripAdvisors New Green Leaders program.

GreenLeader hotels and B&Bs apply to be included in the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Programme. If accepted, GreenLeaders achieve one of four statuses: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The higher the status, the greater the impact of a property’s green practices.

If there is anything we can do to grow sustainable tourism it’s promoting organizations that follow best practices.

There are two ways tourism businesses can be recognized for green practices – certification and award recognition. TripAdvisor is already the worlds most popular website for travel is well positioned to both certify and recognize green leaders.

I have long been an advocate for sustainable tourism awards as opposed to certification because of the cost of assuring certification compliance is usually put on operators making most certification systems really expensive. Certifying bodies require significant infrastructure and staffing costs as well. Most certification systems provide financial rewards to consultants at the expense of tourism operators.

Many certifying agencies exist such as Green Key, Green Globe and others. The International Ecotourism Society has a helpful sustainable tourism certification and standards resource addressing a number of issues related to certication.

TripAdvisor’s program is innovative in that the tourism operator can complete a complete a comprehensive survey-based tool that results in recognition for accommodators with green practices. TripAdvisor assigns accommodators a certification level based on their sustainable practices reported.

Northern Edge Algonquin, our Algonquin Park nature retreat recently completed the application process and achieved a Platinum Level recognition which is really nice. It took just two weeks from filling out the survey to having the Green Leaders icon added to our TripAdvisor listing. By adding the Green Leader Badge to accommodation listing, travelers are assured the operator is following best practices in sustainable tourism.

The Green Leader Application / Survey is a really nice comprehensive checklist of things for accommodators to consider – even if they don’t yet qualify for a green rating. Just completing the survey is a great way for accommodations to learn about best practices in sustainable tourism. Most importantly, the program is free!

TripAdvisor’s Green Leaders program avoids the costs normally associated with certification compliance because in TripAdvisor’s ecosystem, the guest review system is the quality assurance system. It costs TripAdvisor little to ensure compliance. TripAdvisor members assure operators deliver the quality services they promise. Certification of an operators green practices is ensured because in essence any guest could report an operator’s practices if they didn’t comply with the standards of green leadership.

TripAdvisor’s Green Leaders program seems to do both provide recognition (award in the form of a badge linking to green practices) and certification (crowd-sourcing compliance with guest reviews). The Green Leaders program recognizes leaders while crowd-sourcing the sometimes expensive certification process, replacing it with member reviews.

Kudos TripAdvisor!

Learn more or apply to be a TripAdvisor Green Leader:

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