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Certification is a voluntary procedure that assesses, monitors and gives written assurance that a business, product, process, service or management system conforms with specific requirements. It awards a marketable logo or seal to those that meet or exceed baseline standards, i.e., those that at a minimum comply with national and regional regulations, typically and fulfil other declared or negotiated standards prescribed by the program (More information).



QualityCoast Programme

QualityCoast is a sustainability award for coastal communities, towns and islands. It is the only sustainable tourism destination award developed by local authorities themselves. It is the result of the European Union INTERREG project “Coastal Practice Network” (CoPraNet 2002-2005), led by the EUCC. The QualityCoast criteria have been developed to measure the success of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) at local level, in connection to the EU Recommendation for ICZM.

People are increasingly interested in sustainability issues, also when selecting their holiday destination. Tourism eco-labels have become common features in travel brochures and websites.
Whilst the Blue Flag specifically applies to individual beaches and marinas and Travelife and the Green Key to accommodations, QualityCoast is considering efforts for sustainable tourism in the whole territory of the coastal destination: towns, small regions and islands.

With the QualityCoast programme ( ), the Coastal & Marine Union - EUCC aims to establish an international network of coastal communities that share similar values on sustainable and socially responsible tourism, at the same time maintaining high standards in the quality of their tourism offer.
With the QualityCoast Award programme, EUCC aims to encourage tourism destinations for:

  • a. their attractiveness for visitors interested in natural and cultural heritage, a clean environment, local identity, or business involvement in sustainable tourism;
  • b. their policies re: sustainable tourism and any of the aspects mentioned under point a;
  • c. a combination of a and b.

With the inclusion of all Destinations Criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) in the QualityCoast Award 2013 Application Form (July 2012), QualityCoast is now open for applications from all continents.


What is the QualityCoast Award?
The QualityCoast Award is an independent international certification programme for sustainable tourism of coastal and island destinations that are:

  • combining good overall policy performance in sustainable tourism with a good attractiveness for tourists;
  • v providing transparent information to residents and visitors;
  • v planning for improvement.

The programme is considering criteria representing five different categories:

  • Nature
  • Environment
  • Local Identity
  • Tourism & Business
  • Host Community & Safety

Each criterium is measured through a combination of quantitative and qualitative indicators, on which the applicant must provide information regarding its entire territory.





What are the QualityCoast criteria?

The titles of the 2013 Policy Award criteria are as follows:


QualityCoast Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Awards
If the Award score threshold is met, the jury will also check whether the average scores of the individual categories (Nature, Environment, Identity, Tourism & Business and Host Community & Safety) reach a minimum of 8.0 (“excellence”).
The following Award levels will be considered:

  • QualityCoast Bronze, in case of excellence in one of the five categories;
  • QualityCoast Silver, in case of excellence in two of the five categories;
  • QualityCoast Gold, in case of excellence in three [but then no other category should be below 5.0] or four categories;
  • QualityCoast Platinum, in case of excellence in all five categories.

Renewal of the Award: important note
The assessment will take into consideration that earlier scores related to sustainability performance reflect the state of knowledge and experience of previous periods. If no progress is demonstrated in certain indicators, this could result in lower scores. E.g. ambitions and implementation levels in renewable energy use are increasing with time, therefore a clear progress on this item should be shown within a period of four years; another example is the assessment of satisfaction of the destination, which should be carried out in periods no longer than two or three years.

It is also important for applicants to realise that the QualityCoast Team is annually improving the indicator set in order to better cover up-to-date considerations about sustainability and relevant criteria, and to increase harmonisation with the GSTC and EU TSG criteria. This is why the score for particular criteria can change compared to two years ago even when the situation hasn’t changed.

Do you know what can be the benefits to a Quality Coast Destination?


Eco-labelling describes a scheme in which a product or service may be awarded an ecological label on the basis of its acceptable level of environmental impact. This acceptable level of environmental impact may be determined by consideration of a single environmental hurdle or after undertaking an assessment of its overall impacts (Synergy, 2000) (More information).


In Europe there are over 10 recognized, credible eco-labelling and certification programs offering labels or logos designed to signify environmental, socio-cultural and economic practices in coastal zones that are superior.

Some examples:

Blue Flag Campaign
Green Globe 21
PAN Parks
Green Key
The Swan
Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden
La Clef Verte