Eco - Tourism Certification Application Process
The certification process will take place in nine (9) steps, starting with the self-assessment or evaluation and concluding with the award of the certificate and the logo. The steps are as follows:
Step 1: Self-evaluation Procedure
Those tourism suppliers that would like to be certified must first complete a self-evaluation form, available free of charge on the BTO website or it can be mailed following a request to the Botswana Tourism Orgaisation (BTO) Quality Services Department.
The self-evaluation form allows the applicant to evaluate if their tourism product attains the desired level to be certifi ed. After this self-assessment the tourism supplier can decide to proceed to Step two or to take additional time to improve the business operations before submitting the certification application.
Step 2: Application for Green, Green+ or Ecotourism Certification
After the self-evaluation is completed and the tourism supplier has decided to proceed with certification, an official request must be submitted to the BTO Quality Services Department. The request must be posted to the regional BTO office and include the following documents (all of which are available for download from the BTO website, or can be mailed following a request to the BTO Quality Services Department):
- application form;
- self-evaluation form, including compliance with all relevant legislation;
- the required documentation to be reviewed by BTO prior to the site evaluation (see list detailing documents in the application form), or detailing what is available for inspection on site
Step 3: Eco - tourism Assessors Selection and Scheduling
BTO records all the requests and starts the internal process by appointing an assessor and arranging for the site / tour evaluation. Site visits will be made when the applicant has clients on a tour in order to adequately assess their tourism product.
Step 4: Onsite Evaluation
The onsite evaluation will be performed by BTO's assessors. Depending upon the size of the operation and tourism activities conducted, the evaluation will take place over the course of a full day, or may require more than a full day. The assessor will fill in the evaluation form (same as this standards form) based on:
- objective observations,
- discussions with clients,
- discussions with staff.
The BTO assessor will collect the following materials:
- tour evaluation form completed;
- additional list with comments and recommendations;
- promotion materials of the tourism supplier;
- photos taken during site / tour evaluation.
Step 5: Certification decision by the Quality Services Committee
The Quality Services Committee will be provided with all the necessary forms from the assessors. They will analyse all the information provided by assessors and decide if the certifi cation will be awarded. Their decision will also include the level of certification. Where necessary a list of additional recommendations may also be included.
Meetings are held at least twice annually. There is a two-year award period. The applicant must apply for a renewal of their certification midway through year two with a formal request sent to the BTO.
Step 6: Presentation of Certificates
Based on the recommendation of the Quality Services Committee, the BTB issues the award to the applicant. The award comes in the form of a Certificate with the signature of the CEO of BTO and includes the time period for the right to use the Green, Green+ or Ecotourism logo.
Step 7: Appeals Procedure
If the evaluated operator does not agree with the grade awarded, they can request a re-evaluation. This process starts at Step 3.
Step 8: Re-evaluation and Renewal
During the last year of the certification, the awarded operation must re-launch the evaluation process including Steps 1 to 6. No extension of use of the certification logo will be authorized after the expiry date. Therefore the renewal and re-evaluation process must start at least six months in advance of the expiry date.
Step 9: Periodic Monitoring
During the award period, the certified operation will be monitored to ensure that the operation complies with stipulated requirements. Following successful certification, a certified operation will be permitted to use the appropriate logo. This permission is granted for the duration of the certification.