is essential to inform tourists in a positive
way about sustainability efforts by making people
aware that environmental quality means quality
tourism experience. Environmental quality should
be associated with positive feelings and experiences,
such as: small-scale, quality service, personal
relations, traditions, intact and protected
nature, rest, modern lifestyle and healthy (organic)
and local food.
In order to move the market towards sustainability it is essential to create an overview of existing eco-labelled products. Up until 2003 such an overview did not exist.
As part of the VISIT initiative two database powered websites have been established to offer consumers and tour operators full and free access to all accommodation and other tourism services certified by the VISIT eco-labels; these are the “VISIT Holiday Guide” and the “Green Travel Market”.
Communication efforts of VISIT: The European guide with a ’Plus’ in Environmental Quality
The VISIT Holiday Guide was launched in 2003 under the motto “Your visit makes the difference”. It is available online in English, German and Dutch, and provides a detailed and structured description of more than 1,000 hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday houses, youth hostels, camping sites and restaurants, combined with attractive pictures. As added value to their environmental certificate they all offer a ‘Plus’ in quality. Thus, for the first time ever, consumers can find appropriate environmentally-friendly accommodation for their next holiday just by clicking on holiday destinations on the map of Europe.
The VISIT eco-labels in Austria, France, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Latvia guarantee that their awarded businesses conform to high standards in all important environmental aspects, and that these are checked on-site by independent auditors. In addition, the VISIT Holiday Guide also promotes more than 2,000 beaches and 600 marinas certified by the well-known Blue Flag International. (www.yourvisit.info)