Responsible Tourism






Implement a Sustainability Management System


1. A Sustainability Management Plan exists that is appropriate to the business’ size and scale

2. Sustainability Management Plan considers:

• Environmental

• Socio-cultural

• Quality

• Health and Safety Issues

3. Scales with point systems:

i) System is implemented

ii) Sustainability Management Plan is communicated internally and externally

iii) Plan is integrated at decision-making level, includes monitoring, analysis and evaluation and adaptive management

iv) Stakeholder input and progress reported

v) System is comprehensive

vi) Plan includes environmental,

socio-cultural, quality, health and safety issues


Legal Compliance

• Compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations

• Procedure exists for maintaining and implementation of up-to-date list of legal requirements, according to market  practices, specially where the country is a signatory to international treaties


Employee Training

• Scale: Literature on all critical issues is available and provided to management staff.



Customer Satisfication

• Average Customer Satisfaction rating

• Corrective action plan exists

• Number or type of complaints received as percentage of total guests

• Percentage of complaints received that have been resolved


Promotional materials are accurate and complete and do not promise more than can be delivered by the business.

1. Scale:

i) Materials are accurate in description of services

ii) Materials are complete

2. Customer and/or Tour operators survey questions

(i) Marketing materials complete and accurate and not exaggerated

(ii) Marketing materials set realistic





Design and construction of buildings and infrastructure



Comply with local zoning and protected or heritage area requirements

Land use is in compliance with local zoning and protected or heritage area laws and regulations



Design and construction of  buildings and infrastructure

i) Design and construction reduce heating, cooling, lighting and water consumption through passive design appropriate to local conditions, and technology

iii) Buildings with emphasis on visual compatibility with the natural environment

iv) Transportation and circulation with emphasis on minimizing fossil-fuel consumption

v) Utility systems with an emphasis on energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting, water conservation, waste water treatment; and solid waste management.

vi) Reduction of on-site and off-site development impacts on air, water and sound quality.


Sitting respects natural and cultural heritage surroundings

i) Archaeological, cultural heritage, and sacred sites have not been disturbed

ii) Endangered wildlife has not been displaced or habitat destroyed

iii) Buildings do not destroy scenic beauty






iv) Earth movements have been minimized

v) Water courses including aquifers and subterranean links have not been altered

vi) Runoff from buildings, parking lots, and grounds is channeled and filtered and harvested and reused.

vii) Location of buildings not over water bodies and wetlands, whether seasonal or permanent

viii) Location of buildings and roads not in designated no-building zones

ix) Vegetation disturbance has been minimized and restored with endemic and not exotic species

x) Gardens, green areas, golf courses and sporting fields use local and endemic vegetation where ever possible or grasses that are adapted to local climate


Design respects natural and cultural heritage surroundings

i) Existing historic and cultural buildings and landscapes have been restored, in vernacular idiom

ii) Buildings use regional construction materials, as long as these are obtained sustainably

iii) New buildings reflect regional vernacular architecture, and include regional art and crafts

iv) Existing structures have been restored on set heritage norms


Natural and cultural impact has been assessed

i) Environmental and social impact assessment has been completed

ii) Plans are in compliance with recommendations and are checked for continued compliance Land acquisition is legal





Land rights and acquisition respect natural and cultural heritage

i) Land acquisition is in accordance with all protected area or cultural heritage regulations; action should take into account fencing and animal corridor blocking issues.

ii) Local Community have not been involuntarily removed from the land.

iii) Where local communities or indigenous peoples have legal, traditional, collective, or customary rights over the possession and use of the land, the Stakeholders affected have had the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed use

iv) Use for tourism has been authorized with the prior informed consent of stakeholders affected including Panchayats and NGOs with a redressal mechanism in place

v) Number of unresolved complaints by local communities


Design and construction of buildings and infrastructure use locally appropriate principles of sustainable construction

A6.3.1 takes due cognizance of the vernacular idiom namely, oral, natural and built heritage

A6.3.2 Cost of environment safeguards to be part of project cost

i) Construction plan follows sustainable site design, and the plan incorporates use of architects and designers specialized in the vernacular idiom, conservation architects, landscape designers etc.

ii) Construction plan documents meet all STCI, with specific emphasis on risk areas of impact associated with construction

iii) Minimize within acceptable norms areas of vegetation disturbance, earth grading, and water channel alternation.

iv) Reduce wastes and emissions

v) Incorporate local materials and crafts into structures, native plants into landscaping, and local community consultations for programs and operations.

vi) Safe and clean workplace provided





Provide access for persons with Special Needs

i) Facilities and services are accessible to persons with special needs

ii) Level of accessibility is clearly communicated to the customer


Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings, local culture and cultural heritage is provided to customers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites

i) Company has interpretation program

ii) Company has delivery mechanism for interpretations (i.e., collateral, tour guide, podcast)

iii) Staff training programs in interpretation for tourism

iv) Interpretive materials are accurate


Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts



The company actively supports initiatives for the communities social and infrastructure development including, among others, education, health, gender equity and environment care and sanitation

i) Annual gross income contributed to local* community for public benefit through commercial, in kind, or pro bono engagement

ii) Plan developed in collaboration with community


Local residents are employed, including in management positions. Training is offered as necessary.






Local and fair-trade services and goods provided by Micro, Small and  Medium Enterprises are purchased by the business, where available.

i) Purchases of services and goods from local providers

ii) Purchases that are fair trade purchases

iii) Facilities built using local material

iv) Purchasing policy gives priority to local and fair trade suppliers that meet quality and environmentally friendly criteria

v) Checklist of available local, sustainable goods, services, and contract services

vi) Local, sustainable goods, services and contract services utilized

vii) Local owned restaurants, services, and shops utilized on tours


The company provides the first option to Micro, Small and Medium Service Providers to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history, and culture, including food and drink, crafts, performing arts, agricultural products etc.

i) Company provides access to enterprises, including handicrafts, food and beverage, cultural performances, or other goods and services, to sell directly to guests

ii) Promotion of local products in marketing activities and services

iii) Number of local enterprises promoted

iv) Number of local jobs created as a result of company’s intervention

v) Number of new local enterprises incubated





A code of conduct for activities in indigenous and local communities has been developed, with the  consent of and in collaboration  with the community.

i) Appropriate code of behaviour or any other scaling mechanism is integrated into the operations Consultation and dialogue with the community and other stakeholders


The company has implemented a policy against commercial and sexual exploitation, particularly of women, children,  adolescents and tribal communities. 

Number of incidents reported with host destination authorities


The company is  equitable in hiring women and local minorities, including in management positions, while restraining child labor

i) Women and local minorities employees on staff is reflective of local demographics, both in management and non-management categories

ii) Internal promotions, by gender and by local and non-local aspects reflects local demographics

iii) Incidents of child labor as defined by the ILO

iv) Wage equality between men and women


International or national legal protection of employees is respected, and employees are paid a mandated wage nationally.

Salaries and benefits meet or exceed local, national and international regulations, whichever are higher. Payment is made into national social security system for qualified employees. Overtime is paid for hours worked beyond the established work week hours






and working hours do not exceed the legal maximums or those established by the ILO. All employees have the right to annual paid vacation. Health insurance or the equivalent is provided to all employees. Employees receive training and capacity building. Training and capacity building is provided for local community non-employee residents to develop qualified local labor force.


The activities of the company do not jeopardize the provision of basic services, such as water, energy, or sanitation, to local and neighboring communities.



Cultural Heritage Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts.






The company follows established guidelines and a code of behaviour for visits to culturally or  historically sensitive sites, in order to minimize visitor impact and  harmonize with visitor satisfaction

i) Company policy includes established guidelines or code of behavior

ii) Changes in site management plan based on annual easement


Historical and archeological artifacts are not sold, traded, or displayed, except as permitted by law.

i) Incidents and reports regarding inappropriate use of artifacts

ii) Company policy exists

iii) Company policy is implemented and executed effectively


The business contributes to the protection of local historical, archaeological, culturally, and spiritually important properties and sites, and does not impede access to them by local residents

i) Monetary and in-kind contribution to the protection of important properties and sites per unit sector activity, for instance per guest-night

ii) Local population accesses properties and sites


The business uses elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage in its operations, sustainable design, decoration, food, or shops, while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities

i) Incidents and reports of exploitation of local intellectual property

ii) B.3 Indicators are also applicable





Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts



Conserving Resources



Purchasing policy favors environmentally sustainable products for building materials, capital goods, food and consumables.

i) Percentage of purchases of goods and services from green or sustainable sources for building materials, capital goods, food and consumables


Purchase of disposable and consumable goods is measured, and the business actively seeks ways to reduce their use. 

i) Purchasing policy requires re-usable, returnable and recycled goods, where available

ii) Waste management plan exists

iii) Packaging minimization programme

iv) Number of types and quantity of products in disposable containers.


Energy consumption should be measured sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted, while encouraging the use of renewable energy.

i) Total energy consumed per tourist specific activity such as guest-night, tourists, etc. per source or renewable versus non-renewable fuel

ii) Percentage of total energy from renewable sources

iii) Monetary investment in energy saving devices, technologies and renewable energy as a percentage of total energy costs and investments or total turnover


Water consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted.

i) Water management programme exists

ii) Change to availability and access to potable water as a result of company activities

iii) Total volume of water in kilolitres consumed per source per specific tourist activity such as guest-nights, visitors, etc

iv) Percentage of water-using equipment






and activities that employ a water conservation technique and rain harvesting techniques


Reducing Pollution



Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the business are measured, and procedures are implemented to reduce and offset them as a way to achieve climate neutrality and go beyond to mitigate climate change impacts

i) Reduced direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight

ii) Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

iii) Carbon footprint, namely emissions less offsets, per tourist activity or guest-night

iv) Change in greenhouse gas emissions year on year


Wastewater, including grey water, is treated effectively and reused

i) Waste water plan, including treatment, exists

ii) Monitored water discharge by quality and destination

iii) Volume in liters waste water reused


A solid waste management plan is implemented, with quantitative goals to minimize waste that is not reused or recycled.

i) Total waste generated, in tones, by type and disposal method

ii) Kilograms of waste to landfill per sector specific activity, namely, guest-nights, visitors, revenue, etc.

iii) Amount of waste incinerated

iv) Number of incidents of hazardous spills

v) Percentage of total waste that is reused and recycled


The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is

i) Hazardous materials not used

ii) Minimum Percentage of bio-degradable and low phosphate chemicals used to total chemicals

iii) low Pesticides in use per unit area

iv) Decreased usage of harmful substances





Minimized; substituted, when available, by non-harmful products; and all chemical use is optimally managed.



The business implements practices to reduce pollution from noise, light, run-off, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air and soil contaminants.

i) See D.1.2- D.2.4 for indicators on air, water and soil contaminants

ii) Number and types of incidents and complaints

iii) Pollution management plan exists for emissions, effluents and waste


Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes



Wildlife species are NOT harvested from the wild, consumed, displayed, sold, or internationally traded, as part of a regulated activity which ensures that these species remain  sustainably protected.

i) Company policy exists

ii) Company policy is communicated to staff

iii) Company policy is communicated to guests

iv) Sustainable management plan (see Criteria A.1)developed with scientific experts which includes strategies, current and future plans


No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated scientific activities, and living specimens of protected wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped

i) Sustainable management plan developed with scientific experts which includes strategies, current and future plans

ii) Conservation policies are included in employee training

iii) Existence of captive wildlife for uses other than breeding or rehabilitation





to house and care for them, where this is deemed scientifically necessary.



The business uses endemic species for landscaping and restoration, and takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien or exotic species.

i) Company policy prohibits use of invasive alien species in gardens, landscapes and other areas of operation

ii) Plan exists for removal and restoration, where required


The business contributes to the support of biodiversity conservation, including supporting natural protected areas and areas of any biodiversity value.

i) Annual budget allocated to support natural protected areas and biodiversity conservation

ii) Land restoration area

iii) Habitats protected or restored area

iv) Whether assessment plan exists


Interactions with wildlife must not produce adverse effects on the viability of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is prevented, and the company contributes appropriately to provision of requisite safeguards and conservation management.

i) IUCN Red List and national conservation list species and habitats affected by the company’s operations with levels of extinction risk

ii) Habitats protected or restored by the company, including as part of participation in partnership projects by area

iii) Protected and high value land use owned or managed by the company in area and percentage

iv) Annual budget allocated by the company to restore or rehabilitate natural protected areas or  biodiversity  conservation

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