The Botswana Ecotourism Certification System is designed to encourage and support responsible environmental, social and cultural behavior by tourism businesses and make sure they provide a quality eco-friendly product to consumers. It comprises a set of performance standards, which are designed to meet or exceed basic environmentally responsible standards or legislation.
The system is built on the foundation of the Botswana National Ecotourism Strategy (2002). The five guiding principles from the Botswana National Ecotourism Strategy are:
1. Minimising negative social, cultural and environmental impacts.
2. Maximising the involvement in, and the equitable distribution of economic benefits to, host communities.
3. Maximising revenues for re-investment in conservation.
4. Educating both visitors and local people as to the importance of conserving natural and cultural resources.
5. Delivering a quality experience for tourists
The system is further integrated with such internationally recognised schemes as the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and Green Key. Its development has been guided by the Botswana Tourism Policy (1990) and the Botswana Tourism Master Plan (2000). Both documents call for tourism activity within Botswana to be undertaken on an ecologically and economically sustainable basis.
The system was developed in close co-operation with the Botswana tourism industry and has received high levels of support throughout. Its development followed that of the Botswana Ecotourism Best Practices Manual (2008) which is used as a reference document in association with these standards.