13 August 2008

Qualmark – the new stamp of approval for "green" tourism operators

Sustainability and conservation continue to be hot topics for the New Zealand government, tourism board and tourism operators this year, and with this week's introduction of Qualmark, the New Zealand tourism industry is showing it really isn’t all talk.

Qualmark is an official accreditation that tourism operators can earn to show they practice responsible environmental, cultural and social actions.  Businesses will be assessed on the Responsible Tourism Operations criteria, which focus on energy, waste, water, conservation and community activities. 

The purpose of the accreditation is for tousits to make smarter decisions about their holidays and contribute to reducing the environmental and social impact caused by their travel to New Zealand

Geoff Penrose, Qualmark Chief Executive, told sustainability.govt.nz the tourism industry is rising to the occasion and implementing inventive sustainable approaches to tourism. 

"These minimum requirements are designed to reflect sound environmental practices and visitor expectations. Equally important though is that the new criteria are also about recognising actions, behaviours, programmes [and] monitoring those that are under way in tourism businesses," said Mr Penrose.

The Qualmark will be accredited in grades and operators can be awarded one of four logos to use: Qualmark, Enviro-Gold, Enviro-Silver, and Enviro-Bronze.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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