International Ecotourism Standard has been developed by the Ecotourism
Australia in conjunction with the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for
Sustainable Tourism of Australia. The International Ecotourism Standard is
based on the highly successful Australian Eco Certification Program, Agenda
21, and guiding principles for sound ecotourism certification (Mohonk
Agreement) developed by a gathering of ecotourism certification experts at
Mohonk Mountain, New York State, USA in November 2001. Green Globe 21 has
the exclusive licence for the distribution and management of the
International Ecotourism Standard. Green Globe 21 is the global Affiliation,
Benchmarking and Certification program for sustainable travel and tourism.
The Green Globe brand signifies better environmental performance, improved
community interactions, savings through using fewer resources and greater
yields from increased consumer demand.
The International Ecotourism Standard is based principally on the highly
regarded Australian Eco Certification Program Standard combined with
elements of the very latest Green Globe Benchmarking performance system.
Criteria have been adapted to ensure their applicability in an international
setting and both the Standard and Certification Program incorporate the
fundamental principles for sound ecotourism certification identified in the
Eco-tourism : Definition and Key Principles
The Green Globe 21 International Ecotourism Standard has adopted Ecotourism
Australia's definition of ecotourism :
"Ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing
natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding,
appreciation and conservation." However, a more definitive definition
of ecotourism is the expansion of this statement into a core set of
principles with specific performance indicators (i.e. the key ecotourism
The core set of eight principles for ecotourism products are
Nature Area Focus
Focus on giving visitors the opportunity to personally and directly
Provide opportunities to experience nature in ways that lead to greater
understanding, appreciation and enjoyment.
Environmental Sustainability Practice
Represent best practice for environmentally sustainable tourism.
Contribution to Conservation
Contribute directly to the conservation of natural areas
Benefiting Local Communities
Provide ongoing contributions to the local community.
Be sensitive to, interpret and involve the culture/s existing in the area.
Consistently meets consumer expectations.
Be marketed and promoted honestly and accurately so that realistic
expectations are formed.
These principles have been used to develop the Standard criteria
with specific indicators for each of these eight performance areas. The
criteria support the major principles and are based on a hybrid of 'process'
(i.e. creating a documented procedure) and 'performance' (e.g.
that sewage treatment meets certain effluent standards) standards.
Although some criteria are relatively general and rely on a commitment by
the operator to implement a process to meet a desired outcomes (e.g.
provision of an interpretation plan in order to stimulate better designed
interpretative activities, leading to quality experiences) there is distinct
emphasis on specific performance indicators. These are technically
prescriptive and deliberately target real environmental outcomes. These
criteria include quantification of environmental performance for most of the
key environmental indicators. This allows recognition and encouragement of
ecotourism product that makes measured environmental improvements which
result in a more sustainable world.