Certification Levels and Criteria
The Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, covers more than 240 standards encompassing the following: environmental management, cultural resources protection and community development, socio-economic responsibilities and fundamental ecotourism criteria.
The system uses a three-tiered structure (levels) designed to incorporate the broadest cross-section of tourism operations while still distinguishing an urban facility, from a true ecotourism product in a pristine natural environment. The three-tiered structure promotes progress and is designed to encourage operators to improve their performance towards achievement of the next higher level. Of the three levels, the simplest to obtain is Green followed by Green+ and finally the Ecotourism level.
1. Green: - This is the basic entry level and reflects all of the mandatory criteria that are necessary for all facilities to be considered for certification. The standards for this level deal primarily with the environmental management systems of the facility.
2. Green +: - This level has additional requirements and is of a higher standard than the Green level.
3. Ecotourism: – This level upholds the principles of ecotourism, as stated in the Botswana National Ecotourism Strategy (2002) and defines those facilities that have met all the principles of ecotourism. The level reflects the facilities’ commitment to and involvement with local communities in tourism development, nature conservation, environmental management and interpretation of the surrounding environment to the guests.
Botswana Tourism is the certifying body for the Botswana Ecotourism Certification System through the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC), the same Committee responsible for Grading of accommodation and other tourism enterprises.
Already the Botswana Tourism has considered the first 11 applications for eco-certification. The second phase of eco-certification is ongoing and more tourism facilities are showing interest to participate into the eco-certification system.
All facilities aggrieved by the decision of the Botswana Tourism may appeal to the Quality Assurance Committe within 30 days of that decision.