We were recently awarded the Gold standard for the Green Tourism Business Scheme…
…and as the first event management company in the UK to secure gold, I have to say I’m delighted. With an auditor spending the best part of a day on site assessing you on over 200 criteria arranged into half a dozen areas of interest, no one can deny that the GTBS scheme is anything other than rigorous.
GTBS, born in Scotland some ten years ago with VisitScotland parentage, has however been a victim of its own success with it now being adopted throughout the UK and growing to 1400 accredited members. This has stretched their resources which in turn has effected their ability to be responsive to the ongoing auditing needs of new and existing members. Criticism has been levied at VisitScotland for not resourcing the scheme effectively nor incorporating Scotland’s sustainable credentials meaningfully and consistently into its marketing collateral to help progress Scotland to its target of being “Europe’s most sustainable tourism destination by 2015” (Tourism Framework for Change).
Add to this a worrying emergence of some members challenging the cost benefit and not renewing, which provides reason enough for Green Business and VisitScotland to get their heads together and think about how to improve the benefits of membership on one hand, and leverage a cohesive and consistent sustainability marketing initiative on the other. Both are mutually dependent.
Whilst some criticism is fair and balanced, let’s be thankful for what we have. An established and robust scheme providing businesses, large and small, with an effective and easy to apply Environmental Management System which validates and accredits the businesses efforts and results! Of course there is room for improvement, but detractors take note, GTBS would not have grown into a UK wide scheme with 1400 members if it were a complete failure!