This article discusses the perceived benefits and challenges associated with membership of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, a sustainable certification initiative. The literature reveals sustainable business continues to be the focus of considerable academic interest, as well as practical importance. Interviews with seven local hospitality and tourism enterprises in the West of England provided valuable insights into the benefits of the scheme. These were related to environmental impacts, financial considerations, marketing opportunities, brand recognition and company image, and other issues such as public relations, personal moral responsibility, and political considerations. Challenges included several internal and external factors potentially preventing businesses from joining the GTBS, such as a lack of respondent knowledge of the sustainable tourism concept, the perceived expense of applying for and/or membership, a lack of time to complete the application process, and the amount of work involved in compliance. Recommendations to facilitate and encourage future membership included more information about the scheme and its marketing advantages, the need for regional organisations to spend more money on promoting the GTBS brand, and the necessity of educating consumers on the importance of sustainability.
Bibliographical note© 2010 Cambridge University Press
- certification schemes
- sustainable tourism
- competitive advantage