Preferred by Nature offers accommodations and tour operators, including Destination Management Companies, certification and services to help them improve and promote their environmental, social and economic practices.
Our Sustainable Tourism Standards for Accommodations and Tour Operators are GSTC-recognised standards, which means that the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has recognised them as equivalent to their GSTC Criteria for sustainable travel.
Tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. As it is closely linked to development, it has become a key driver for socio-economic progress. It is also a vital contributor to job and wealth creation, economic growth, environmental protection and poverty alleviation. These are only possible when tourism areas are responsibly managed and planned.
By verifying against the Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Certification, your company will be able to promote itself in a credible way, as a responsible tourism service provider within the global tourism sector and the growing responsible tourism market worldwide.
The Preferred by Nature Standard for Sustainable Travel Activities was subject to public consultation from May to July 2022. The comments and feedback gathered during that consultation were incorporated into the upgraded standard. The standard has also been redesigned to align with the Preferred by Nature Sustainability Framework while maintaining its alignment with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria. We invite you to learn more here.
If you need a price quote
You can begin your certification process and receive a service quote by filling in our Service Request Form or by contacting us. We will share information and guide you on the scope of certification that best fits your needs and company set-up.
Typically, the certification process follows these five steps:
|Application process: The certification process, including preparation time, normally takes between four to six months from the time the candidate organisation submits their formal application, until the final certification decision is communicated. Once we receive your request for information, our team will contact you and send the application form. Based on the information shared, we will provide a cost proposal. Once approved, we will assign a contact person to follow up and help you plan your organisation certification agenda.
|Prepare for certification: Your company will need to adequately prepare for the audit based on the requirements of the applicable Sustainable Tourism Standard, both documentary and operationally. We will agree with you on the best date to carry out the audit and to start the necessary logistical arrangements.
|On-site audit: On the agreed dates, we will conduct an on-site assessment to check your compliance with the Sustainable Tourism Standard requirements. This is done through document reviews, field observation and interviews with your staff. The average duration of the initial evaluation audit is 2.5-3 days, depending on the size and characteristics of the operation. The preliminary results of the audit are presented and validated with you on the last day of auditing.
|Draft report: Once the field audit process is closed, the audit team will prepare the preliminary audit report and after an internal review, it will be sent for your review.
|Certification: Based on a positive outcome, a certification decision will be made. If the company is eligible, a certificate will be issued. The Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism certificate is valid for a period of five years. Within this certification cycle, you will need to undergo annual audits to verify your continued compliance. This will be scheduled within 60 days prior to the anniversary date of the certificate. To renew the certificate and start a new certification cycle, the company must undergo a re-evaluation audit.
Our certification offers lodging businesses around the world the opportunity to reliably endorse their commitment and sustainable management to today's responsible tourism market. This is based on their performance in meeting our Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Standard, recognised as equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for the GSTC-I industry.
Our certification services are available for:
- Accommodation services worldwide, from all-inclusive resorts to jungle lodges and boutique hotels in modern urban or world heritage sites.
- Tour operators ranging from local to regional tour operators who are operating in multiple destinations or countries.
- Expertise. With over 25 years of experience within certification, we have built a team of qualified auditors located across Europe, America, Russia, Africa and Asia. Our team consist of auditors with more than 20 years of experience in the tourism sector and our portfolio includes more than 80 tourism businesses, including hotels, resorts, tour operators and DMCs.
- Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Member. We are an active member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the organisation that acts as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification and manages the GSTC Criteria, global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism.
- Highly qualified staff and a network of consultants. We have a network of expert auditors involved in the implementation of the Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Certification Standard.
- Focus on customer experience. Our aim is to provide you with a beneficial service that is supportive and friendly. Our professional services are delivered on time and in high quality. We will keep you up to speed on evolving certification requirements through client updates and provide you with the support needed to understand the standard requirements and fulfil your certification objectives.
- Local presence, global reach. With staff located in 40 countries and backed by an extensive global network of experts, we cater to companies worldwide.
Additional value of engaging with us
- Partnership with global initiatives in favour of sustainable tourism. We collaborate with worldwide influential organisations and actors in the tourism sector to join global efforts to promote sustainability within the sector. To learn more about our partnerships, visit the Partners section.
- Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Certification allows companies to integrate, measure and monitor their sustainable management in a systematic way, allowing them to contribute in a tangible way to the achievement of the SDGs.
- The non-profit factor. We are mission-driven, which is reflected in our focus on delivering our services with integrity and a high degree of professionalism.
Benefits for certified companies
Travel businesses certified under the Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Standard, will receive both technical and promotional benefits.
- Access to the Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Certification system tools, including our tourism standards - recognised as equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Industry (GSTC-I).
- Regular feedback provided by expert auditors about your company's sustainable management system, which aims to help you identify strengths and areas of opportunity to achieve continuous improvement in your sustainable management systems.
- Opportunity to participate in Preferred by Nature Sustainable Travel Expert Courses with the purpose of providing technical knowledge on how certification works and better understanding of the standard.
- Webinars on relevant sustainable development topics applied to the travel industry.
- Use of the Preferred by Nature hummingbird logo as a recognition of your compliance with the standard requirements. Certified companies can use the Preferred by Nature logo on their marketing, promotional and communication materials.
- Presence on Green Your Vacation. Online directory created exclusively to promote Preferred by Nature Certified companies which highlights the sustainable characteristics of certified operations and service offerings.
- Dual certification, optional – Travelife Dual Certification for Accommodations and Tour Operators.
- Presence in Preferred by Nature social media accounts. We actively promote the actions of responsible companies and projects around the world via our Tripadvisor's Travel Feed, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
- Presence in online booking platforms like Bookdifferent.com
- Third party listings shared with influential travel industry organisations, including GSTC, Transat, TUI, Hotelbeds.com, Green Travel Index, Sustainability Map, among others.