Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme discounted membership offer

Support provided by Visit Scotland

What does this involve?

Through this scheme, 3 sustainable tourism certification scheme providers are offering a £500 discount on fees for tourism businesses in Scotland that join their certification schemes before March 2023 (or until all funding is used up). The providers are EarthCheck, Green Key and Green Tourism.

The discount will mean eligible tourism businesses will get membership for the first year either discounted or even free, depending on the certification fees. The discounts are limited, and will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

The funding for the scheme was provided through the Sustainability Certification Scheme Fund for Tourism Recovery, launched earlier this year by VisitScotland as part of the Destination Net Zero Programme. It provided grant funding to certification providers to support tourism businesses to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in a sustainable manner.

Businesses should contact their certification programme of choice directly and apply for membership – more information is available on the VisitScotland website.

Am I eligible?

Micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the tourism sector in Scotland are eligible.

All businesses will need to meet the individual certification programme’s eligibility requirements.

The following businesses are not eligible:

  • non-tourism businesses
  • businesses that are not classed as micro or small or medium-sized (SMEs)
  • lapsed members of a sustainability certification scheme provider's scheme that cancelled their membership on or after 1 November 2021
  • local authority or public body-owned or managed businesses
  • supply chain businesses for events and tourism sectors, such as florists, caterers, photographers, chauffeur and taxi services
  • an individual event or multiple sets of connected events
  • venues that are not open for bookings by members of the public (for example, an exclusive members-only organisation venue
  • transport providers without a tourism product (for example, coach hire, car hire, taxi services, boat hire or ferry operators)
  • large educational establishments such as schools, colleges and universities  
  • non-tourism accommodation (such as non-tourism hostels, workers accommodation and long-term lets)

What does this cost?

The certification programme providers offer a £500 discount to businesses that join their certification schemes before March 2023 (or until all funding is used up). Costs vary across the providers, so the discount allows eligible tourism businesses to gain membership for the first year either discounted or even free, depending on the certification fees. If the discount does not cover the entire fee, you will need to pay for the rest.

Who is this for?

Micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the tourism sector in Scotland.

How long does this take?

To receive the discount, you will need to join one of the 3 certification schemes by March 2023. The scheme may close early if all funding is used up sooner.

You will need to contact your certification programme of choice directly and apply for membership. The providers are EarthCheck, Green Key and Green Tourism – more information is available on the VisitScotland website.

Important information

A certification scheme provides a third-party assessment of your business's environmental and sustainable practices.

Generally, an assessor will measure your business against the scheme criteria, which can cover a range of sustainability aspects. By meeting those criteria, you gain the certification’s label, which can then be used as an independently verified badge of validation for your business.

Next steps

Visit the VisitScotland website to read more on each of the certification scheme programmes, including the costs of joining each scheme and how to apply.

Support provided by Visit Scotland

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