Heritage launches an updated version of their Greenline Responsible Tourism Programme

logo horizontalIn a world where the terms ‘green’, ‘responsible’ and ‘eco’ have come to mean just about anything, GreenLine offers travellers and tourism products a service that means what it says. It is a professional tourism-based responsible business certification initiative designed to recognise and promote tourism businesses that meet internationally-accepted standards of responsibility. From care for the environment to fair and equitable distribution of income and the protection of cultures and traditions, GreenLine has been designed to reflect the best that travel has to offer.

“At Greenline,” say Greg McManus, Managing Director of the Heritage Environmental Management Company, “we are passionate about responsible travel and about addressing the impacts that irresponsible and unplanned travel has on our environment, communities, traditions and cultures.  Greenline recognises the efforts being made to reduce these impacts – sometimes in very small but considerate ways, and encourages even more responsible practice in a sustainable manner.  By choosing GreenLine as your certification and travel partner, you can be assured that your impacts are being managed to ensure that the beauty of your destination is protected for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.  After all, don’t we owe our children that at the very least?”

GreenLine is a certification initiative offered by the Heritage Environmental Management Company, Africa’s leading tourism-based environmental certification programme.  With over twelve years experience in certification, they offer the most cost-effective and benefits-driven Responsible Tourism (RT) certification option available.  GreenLine has been part of the process to develop the South African National Responsible Tourism Standard, so have insight into the national strategy and can provide each tourism business with unique insights into certification. This experience, together with their background in tourism quality assurance systems, enables GreenLine to create workable solutions to sustainability issues, and guidance towards globally recognised responsible business practice.

The GreenLine RT Programme offers two levels of certification – both based on the South African National Responsible Tourism Standard (SANS1162) and other international RT programmes.​​

The Silver Class level of the programme incorporates only the National standard, while the Gold Class level includes additional standards unique to GreenLine.  As a business you can choose which level you want to comply with as a member, remembering that you can progress from Silver to Gold as and when your business grows and you become more aware of your impacts.

Silver Class members have achieved recognition by meeting the South African National Responsible Tourism Standards.  These are a set of minimum standards for recognition at the national level, and they are common to all other accredited certifiers in South Africa.  This level gives you a good start on the road to sustainable and continually improving performance.​

Gold Class members have gone further than the National standard by implementing the range of additional standards the GreenLine Programme requires.  These additional standards take your business to the next level of responsibility and ensure sustainable and constantly improved performance to an internationally recognised level.

The Greenline website offers a self-evaluation service (at present linked to the South African Department of Tourism self-evaluation facility), whereby you can quickly determine just how well you are doing in terms of the National Responsible Tourism Standard.   This guide can quickly determine what you still need to do towards certification to the national standard – or enables you to simply to monitor your own performance. It does not, however, entitle you to position or market yourself as compliant to the national standard – or the Greenline standard, unless you have been independently audited and certified.​

Being certified as a responsible business brings its own rewards associated with operating costs and savings, but as a member of the GreenLine RT Programme you are a free page listing on eco-beds.com, a global commission-free reservations platform dedicated to responsible accommodation and services (www.eco-beds.com). This includes a link to your online reservation site or email address as well as a free page listing to tell the world about your commitment to responsible tourism and to raise awareness of what you have to offer. Greenline is being promoted globally to attract the thousands of visitors that specifically look for your details, adding value to your own marketing and promotional activities. In addition to this, GreenLine Members get free weekly news-briefs containing interesting news and advice about the world of responsible travel; the environment and sound corporate social advice. A quarterly newsletter keeps members up-to-date with what’s happening in Greenline and offers advice on international best practice.

Becoming part of the GreenLine Responsible Tourism Programme involves an annual licence and certification fee according to the size of your business. This fee entitles all the benefits of the programme – irrespective of your size or location.​

So what is the difference between the GreenLine Programme and the Heritage Programme?

“The Greenline Programme is a Responsible Tourism Certification initiative – while the Heritage Programme is a comprehensive Environmental Management System and Certification product” says McManus. “They are distinctly different – but very complimentary, and we believe this is a new way of looking at the industry’s need for independent endorsement of their performance”.

Some pointers:

  • GreenLine is open to all tourism products (accommodation) irrespective of the number of rooms.  The fees are based on a sliding scale according to the number of rooms and potential benefit accrued.
  • All GreenLine members are visited once a year for verification purposes.  Their actual application is an on-line questionnaire that requires the business to confirm compliance with specific criteria.  These are then analysed by Heritage and then the member is accepted.  Once a year we review their submission(s) on-site.
  • GreenLine is aligned with the National Standard at all points.
  • GreenLine has two levels – Silver Class (where the national standards are met) and Gold (where the national standards are exceeded)
  • Standards are available on our website
  • Fees start as little as R50.00 per room per year.
  • Our benefits include commission free reservations platform (Eco-Beds.com website); electronic promotional opportunities and other marketing-related benefits.

www.heritagesa.co.za

 

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