|UK committed to sustainable business.|
Tuesday, 26th August 2008
Source : VisitBritain
Green Start helps accommodation providers and visitor attractions in England to take the first steps towards becoming sustainable businesses.
National tourism agency, VisitBritain aims to encourage a rapid, widespread and significant increase in the adoption of sustainable tourism principles, while avoiding the burden of too much bureaucracy and, as part of a three-month pilot, is waiving the usual £25 cost for the first 500 businesses to register to the programme.
Participation in Green Start provides tourism managers and operators with a stepping stone towards accreditation by a validated sustainable accreditation scheme.
Jason Freezer, VisitBritain’s sustainable tourism project manager, says: “VisitBritain is committed to encouraging sustainable businesses. However nearly two-thirds tell us they need more guidance on developing their business in that way. Green Start is an initial step in helping more of our tourism businesses improve their existing practices and signal to visitors that they recognise the increasing importance and value of sustainable good practice.”
Using a simple online self-assessment tool, participants must meet a code of conduct, commit to four fundamental sustainability requirements and, over a period of two years, meet or work towards at least 23 relevant ‘good practices’ from a total menu of 50. These could include insulating buildings and water tanks, using low-energy lighting, collecting rainwater, using locally-sourced produce or promoting eco-friendly travel such as cycling.
In return, participants will gain a basic identification on visitbritain.com and enjoyengland.com, signalling to consumers that they recognise the importance and value of sustainable good practice. VisitBritain will provide them with additional best practice guidance, drawing on advice from national experts and signposting businesses to regional resources. The agency aims to have 2,500 businesses signed up to Green Start in the first year.
By introducing the entry-level programme, VisitBritain aims to prepare businesses for more formal accreditation under an existing and well-established sustainable certification scheme, such as the Green Tourism Business Scheme ( www.green-business.co.uk ). VisitBritain will add its endorsement to businesses in these schemes and give their quality assessed participants full marketing benefits, both online and offline.
To mark the launch, consumers in the UK and abroad – who are increasingly exploring sustainable practices when planning their trips – can now search for around 750 of these ‘green’ accommodation providers and attractions on visitbritain.com and enjoyengland.com.
VisitBritain has also identified the few conflicts in its current national quality assessments standards and is addressing the process of integrating sustainable principles into them. Its activities in the sustainable arena are part of VisitBritain’s current strategy to promote sustainable businesses and encourage responsible visitors through marketing, industry engagement, leading by example and supporting Government’s sustainable agenda.