Use Awards As Guidelines
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Why does it seem like the onus investigate ecotourism falls on the customer? Aren't there any regulations?
There is still little consensus about what constitutes genuine ecotourism, but there are some rating scales available.
- Certification programs provide independent, third-party assessment
- Accreditation goes one step further by verifying the competencies of those doing the certification
- This sounds impressive, except that, at present, these programs are voluntary. It's the tour operators themselves who can choose to apply and who send in the required information
- Certain awards can provide shortcuts to finding responsible companies, but make sure that they're based on inspections. Some awards are granted on the basis of information provided by the companies themselves and by photos they send in. The Tourism for Tomorrow Award does include on-site inspection and offers recognition not only for best destination but also for conservation and investment in local communities.
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