At Totonal Viajes we are on cloud nine since we have officially received the Rainforest Alliance™ certificate for sustainable tourism tour operators. We have gone through very exhausting months where we have strengthened both our internal sustainability strategy and our providers' policies. In this entry, we are going to explain what this certification means for us but most importantly, what it means for you, our fellow traveler and reader.
What is Rainforest Alliance?
Perhaps you have already seen the frog of the Rainforest Alliance logo in some products like certified tea and coffee packs. But what this has to do with tourism?
Rainforest admits that: "Travel shows us new ways of life, memorable landscapes and new experiences. But tourism - a vital source of income for many developing countries - can also cause pollution, deforestation, inefficient use of energy and cultural exploitation." This explains why is so important to manage tourism efficiently and sustainably at the destination level. For Totonal, this has been a certainty since our very first beginning.
Our mission is to encourage the development of rural communities through the design, operation and sale of responsible tourism experiences. We do this through trips that integrate rural cooperatives and cultural enterprises with the objective of offering trips that respond to the demand of travelers interested in living authentic experiences in México. Our vision is to be the leading company of responsible tourism in México, while creating bridges of prosperity for rural communities
Why do we need a certification on sustainable tourism?
The Rainforest Alliance certification for tourism providers is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and is based on a specific framework divided into three essential categories: business level, socio-cultural and environmental . The company has to compile with a set of indicators on each of these categories with the aim to improve its internal operations. For example, it is required to create and implement different manuals and management plans that show the sustainability credentials of the company’s providers, active participation in events, talks and workshops on sustainable development and responsible tourism… After completion of the indicators, an external auditor comes to asses the company and will later submit a report to be accepted by the Rainforest Alliance board.
In other words, having a Rainforest Alliance certification guarantees quality and shows strong and effective commitment to Sustainable Development. Perhaps you have heard of the concept called "green-washing"? It appears when a company declares itself "green" but it really is not, emitting false claims about its sustainability credentials to attract customers who have a sustainable attitude. Therefore, a certification like Rainforest Alliance allows to discard any suspicion of green-washing and officially validates the company’s sustainable management
To find out more about how our sustainable tourism policy is put into place, we invite you to check our "sustainability" section in our website. Please feel free to drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
This post has been written by our fellow Isabelle Rohan.