Good Practice Database - Country - SE - Natures Best certification
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Natures Best certification

Practice on:

Eco-tourism certification system and branding.

Practical details:
NUTS 1:
NUTS 2:
Start date: 01.01.2002
Type of initiative:  private
Description of the practice:

A national certification system for high-quality and responsible eco-tourism.


A green (tourism) certification is connected to all national environmental quality objectives in Sweden. (http://www.miljomal.nu/Environmental-Objectives-Portal/).

Naturens bästa (Natures Best) is a national system for certification of high quality Swedish ecotourism. Natures Best was developed by travel associations, land owners, nature conservation associations, non profit organisations, public authorities, tourist companies and institutions. More than 30 companies and 20 national associations took part in the process of creating criteria for Nature’s Best. The focal point is the quality of the travel experience, combined with strict environment and nature conservation measures, as well as a clear local connection. Natures Best certifies and promotes the best Swedish tour operators and their finest products. The development of Natures best has required and still requires support from public sources. Natures Best quality label is currently backed primarily by two organisations.

1. The Swedish Ecotourism Society is the main organisation responsible for Natures Best and the certifying process. The Society was founded in 1996 and has approximately 400 members, most of whom are small or medium sized enterprises.

2. VisitSweden is a national organisation, responsible for the promotion of Sweden as a business and leisure travel destination. The objective is to see ecotourism grow bigger and better; to give travellers more and better opportunities to book environmentally safe, quality labelled ecotours. It is to give natural and cultural heritage in Sweden an economic value by creating new work opportunities and quality tourism. It is to create an international profile for Sweden as an exciting destination for ecotourists.

These are the six basic principles which Natures Best make sure are fulfilled by every certified tour operator:

1. Respect the limitations of the destination – minimise the negative impacts on local nature and culture.

2. Support the local economy.

3. Make all the operators activities environmentally sustainable.

4. Contribute actively to nature and cultural conservation.

5. Promote knowledge and respect and the joy of discovery.

6. Quality and safety all the way. (Read more about the priciples at: http://www.naturesbestsweden.com/nb/grundprinciper.asp)

To qualify to Nature’s Best you must:

1. Apply to the basic criteria.

2. Have an environmental plan.

3. Have a destination analysis plan.

4. Apply with special criteria if your company is into fishing, hunting, riding.

5. Fulfill a course in ecotourism and Natures Best. (The certification criteria in detail (in Swedish) are found at http://www.ekoturism.org/illustrationer/fil_20051017152646.pdf) For the time being, the Nature's Best quality label is only available to Swedish companies with operations in Sweden. Many countries, however, have shown their interest in how the system works. The Swedish Ecotourism Society is now working in partnership on a small scale with other countries and their organizations, to translate the model so it can apply to other countries.

Evidence of success
Biological/biodiversity values:

Many of the certified businesses are located in valuable natural areas from a biodiversity point of view.

Visual impact and recreational value:

Many of the certified businesses are of course located in valuable natural areas from a visual/recreative point of view.

Cultural heritage:

Many of the certified businesses are located in valuable natural areas from a cultural heritage point of view.

Environmental impact:

The certification ensures that the impact on the environment is low. The certification combines commercial nature based tourism with active nature conservation and protection of valuable cultural heritage. It also develops more and better climate clever traveling were the longest piece is done with bus or train. The fact that valuable natural areas are promoted also helps in getting a higher understanding for the values and a will to take care of these values in the society and in the local population.

Economic viability:

Since there is a criteria for high quality from a touristic perspective in the certification it implies that the chance for economic viability is rather large for the certified businesses. This is rather unusual for green certifications in general and could be considered innovative.

Transferability:
The transferability is high. The six basic principles of the certification system could principally be copied and used in other countries. The detailed certification criteria could be used as a basis to develop similar systems in other countries.

Contact details:
Name: Per Jiborn
Organisation: The Swedish Society for Ecotourism
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.naturesbestsweden.com, www.naturensbasta.se


Completed on: 15.07.2011
Date added: 4.9.2011  Hits: 216
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