London, UNITED KINGDOM – In an effort to help maintain minimum certification standards for tourism businesses, VisitEngland, Visit Wales and Northern Ireland Tourist Board have endorsed, through an independent review by the International Centre of Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Travel International’s Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) as a recognised certification programme.
Developed by Sustainable Travel International (STI) to conserve the travel industry’s vital assets, STEP features a suite of online tools that help businesses and destinations of all sizes manage their impacts. Components include education and training programs, a self-assessment framework, and policy and documentation guidelines, as well as an independently-verified eco-certification process for businesses in all tourism sectors.
STEP is designed to address all aspects of tourism operations and improve the bottom line. The standard is particularly focused on improving business systems, greening workplace practices and cultivating a strong relationship with the community.
“This programme has been independently validated by the ICRT, on behalf of the national tourist boards of England, Wales and Northern Ireland,” said Jason Freezer, Head of Destination Management, VisitEngland. “This process ensures that we are recommending robust and credible schemes for businesses, and provides confidence for consumers that they can genuinely identify sustainable places to stay, visit and experience.”
STEP is a global eco-certification program designed for the travel and tourism industry, and managed by STI, a non-profit organisation. STEP has also been recognised by the United Nations Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
“We have been around for 250 years and want to be around for the next 100 years,” added John Ferry of The Guinness Store House, Irelands number one tourist attraction. “Thanks to STEP we are now able to monitor, measure, organise, and improve on our sustainability practices. STEP is renowned as being the best in the world and we like to be associated with best practices.”