THE PLANET AT THE HEART OF OUR PRIORITIES
Ecotourism is a form of tourism that aims to introduce visitors to a natural environment while preserving its integrity. It includes interpretive activities about the natural or cultural components of this environment, while promoting a respectful attitude towards it. Ecotourism is based on the principles of sustainable development and provides socio-economic benefits for local and regional communities. (Source: BNQ Standard # 9700-060/2003)
As the first official standard for ecotourism products in Quebec, our Ecotourism attestation highlights businesses that offer this type of activity and their best practices in sustainable development.
Holding the Ecotourism attestation means being among the leaders in our industry who put the planet at the heart of their priorities. It also means taking advantage of a complete coaching program to get your own sustainable development action plan, in addition to promoting your commitment to your clients.
9 Standards of the Ecotourism attestation
1. The company discloses its ecotourism values in the promotion of its products, regardless of the medium (website, brochure, etc.)
2. The company describes the ecosystem that customers will discover during their stay and activities.
3. Before the activity, the company makes its clients aware of the do's and don't's in the natural and cultural environments they are visiting (code of conduct).
4. The company favors means of transportation that are the least harmful to the environment and that make the ecotourism activity as rewarding and safe as possible.
5. The company ensures that these elements are adressed during the ecotourism stay: reduction, recycling, and recovery of waste; use of biodegradable cleaning products; conservation of the environmental, cultural, and human heritage; respect for neighbouring populations and awareness of the clients and staff in this regard.
6. The company favours, whenever possible, the purchase of local products for the preparation of an ecotourism stay.
7. The company has a map of the territory on which fragile environments are identified, and clients and staff are issued instructions on how to minimize their impact on these environments.
8. The company identifies the fauna and flora of the areas visited, as well as the inert organic material that needs to be protected (artifacts, rocks or other) in order to minimize the impact of its activities on the environment. It also ensures that everyone remains at a reasonable distance from animals.
9. For each activity that it offers, the company has an interpretive plan that covers: geography, ecology, history, culture, heritage, traditions, natural environments, ecoresponsibility, respect for local communities, etc.
How to get the Ecotourism attestation?
To get the Ecotourism attestation, you must:
- Be a certified member of Aventure Écotourisme Québec.
- Obtain an ecoresponsible rating of 50% or more with Les Pages vertes, using the self-diagnostic tool and validating your results with our consultant.
- Complete a carbon footprint assessment with the tool provided by AEQ (more details to come in fall 2023).
- Meet the Ecotourism attestation standards, which are integrated into the ecoresponsible rating process with Les Pages vertes. We will proceed with an analysis of your diagnosis. You may be asked to provide supporting documents.
- Get your actions validated on the field every three years.
Full support is provided free of charge to members of Aventure Écotourisme Québec.
At the end of this process, you will obtain: a diagnosis of your ecoresponsible actions, a sustainable development action plan, and an ecoresponsible rating so that you can follow the evolution of your actions and share your commitment with your clients. What's more, by completing your carbon footprint assessment with our tool, you'll be helping the adventure tourism sector to embark on a collective carbon-neutral path.
Ready to get your Ecotourism attestation?