The idea of "ecotourism" has taken off in recent years, but a crucial detail is often neglected: how do we know that an enterprise truly meets the goals and standards of ecotourism? Certification—the rating of lodges, resorts, tour operators, and other sectors of the tourism industry by independent auditors who verify environmental and social impacts—has emerged as the most promising answer. Ecotourism and Certification offers a valuable overview of ecotourism certification and lays out the basic challenges and strategies for establishing certification programs.The book begins by establishing baseline information on the tourism industry, situating ecotourism within the larger tourism industry, and tracing the history of certification. The second chapter explores the concepts underlying certification followed by a chapter that examines certification as a tool in other industries such as forestry and coffee production. The remainder of the book highlights case studies of the most promising certification schemes around the world. Written by experts who have been closely involved with the projects described, case studies include:the NEAP Program in AustraliaCosta Rica's government-financed Sustainable Tourism Certification (CST) program and other programs in Central Americamore than 50 eco-labeling and certification programs for accommodations in Europeprograms to certify beaches and national parksefforts in South Africa and Kenya to establish certification programsEcotourism is a promising approach to protecting threatened environments and communities around the world and certification is a key to making it effective. This is the first book to take a global look at the emergence and application of certification, and it speaks largely through the voices of those directly involved with the industry and in the countries where is has been applied. It will be an important contribution for ecotourism and development professionals worldwide.
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Martha Honey is program director of the Ecotourism and Sustainable Development Project at the Institute for Policy Studies based in Washington, D.C., and author of Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (Island Press, 1999).
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