ANDECO Ecotourism Certification
ANDECO is developing a Seal of Quality, Ethics and Sustainability named: "ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal" to promote the authentic culture of Andalucia, its legacy and the extraordinary value of its Natural Areas.
To attain this objective we are working on the development of a Program of Ecotourism Certification designed to catagorize ecotourism companies and activities according to how closely they follow a model of sustainability, as regards the management of natural, cultural and social resources.
ANDECO will initally award the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal to companies and associations involved in ecotourism around Ronda and Sierra de las Nieves and afterwards to companies and associations throughout Andalucia thus generating a process of education and consciousness raising for visitors and local communities alike. Within a framework of participation, equality and transparency this process will serve as a model for ecotourism in Andalucia.
ANDECO conceives Ecotourism as a tool for Sustainable Development and the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity. The ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal is a tool to evaluate and reward those ecotourism activities that educate in an environmental commitment thus improving the management of natural and cultural resources while also educating visitors, the local community and tour operators in Good Environmental Practices that guarantee the sustainable development of the activity thus safeguarding the integrity of the local cultures and the protection of the environment.
In order to comply with the standards of socio-environmental protection which the United Nations Program for the Environment, the World Tourism Organization, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Agenda 21 have established in the matter of tourism certification, biodiversity and sustainability, we will establish 3 levels of ecotourism to measure the impact of tourism on nature and the community. The 3 levels will be regulated by means of the introduction of the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal:
Level 1 Green Leaf
Level 2 Yellow Leaf
Level 3 Brown Leaf
What are the requirements in the Certification process of True Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is informative and formative
It supports the integrity of the area
It benefits the local population
It conserves the natural and cultural resources
It respects local culture and traditions
It does not over exploit its products
It looks for quality and not quantity
It provides quality experiences
The ANDECO Ecotourism Seal is being developed with Ecotourism Certification Standards based on the following principles:
1. Involvement in the natural area
2. Environmental Interpretation / Natural and Sociocultural heritage
3. Environmental Sustainability / Ecological Awaremess
4. Contribution to Conservation / Financial benefits
5. Working and strengthening local communities
6. Respecting local culture / Code of Ethics
7. Responsible Marketing / Promoting Ethics and Respect /
What benefits does the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal confer?
Benefits for Nature ensuring the conservation of ecological processes, biodiversity and the rational use of natural resources.
Benefits for the Community fostering the culture and values of the local population, preserving its identity and looking for social equilibrium. Ensuring an efficient tourism growth with more employment and a balanced relationship between cost and benefit of resources.
Benefits for the Visitor through interpretation and education ecotourists will achieve a better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the natural and cultural environment thus promoting the protection of Nature, solidarity, intercultural dialog and peace.
Through certification those protagonists who emphasize by their excellence their environmental sensitivity and the satisfaction they provide to the ecotourists (price, installations, and above all the efficiency in the design, saving of water and energy, cordial relationships with neighbouring communities, treatment of waste liquids and solids, interpretation and environmental education of the visitor etc.) will be rewarded. The visitors will be able to participate and obtain the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal as recognition and reward for their actions in protecting nature and their active involvement in the community.
How does one obtain the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal?
ANDECO has established 3 Levels of Ecotourism in its programs to measure the impact of tourism on natural and socio-cultural resources. At each level there is a seal of quality. To obtain the ANDECO ECOTOURISM Seal in each of the three categories one has to participate in the three levels of training in Ecotourism given by ANDECO in workshops which educate in Environmental Best Practices. The workshops are custom designed for companies and groups of visitors and have a follow-up afterwards until the obtaining of the corresponding certificate of each level.