Thursday, October 13, 2011

Travelife Kicks off Major Criteria Review

The Travelife Sustainability System, which has become the international certification of choice for the travel industry, kicked off a major review of the criteria used to rate holiday accommodation on 7 October 2011, to boost growth and relevance of the scheme with the industry.

The Travelife Sustainability System is a practical tool for hotels and apartments to monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts. Independent auditors rate properties bronze, silver and gold depending on achievements. To date nearly 17,000 properties have registered with Travelife, with more registering every week.

The Travelife criteria and scoring system were developed in 2004 following a multi-stakeholder consultation process involving tour operators, hoteliers, trade associations, NGOs, Academics and Consultants from several European countries.

The review process will follow internationally recognised ISEAL procedures for standard-setting organisations and will include two multi-stakeholder, public consultations. The first opens on 1 November closing on 16 December 2011 and the second opens on 1 February closing on 2 March 2012.

Since Travelife’s launch, there have been a number of developments which has prompted the review. These include:

• The European Union supports Travelife but it also has its own sustainability instruments such as EMAS and the EU ECOLABEL. The review aims to ensure that Travelife criteria are aligned to maximise effectiveness.

• More and more companies are now aware of the business benefits of sustainability, but Travelife criteria are not “one size fits all”. The review will look at how Travelife can be used by companies of different sizes and business models.

Travelife is establishing a Criteria Review Group which will represent all stakeholder groups these include representatives from different global regions, NGOs, academics, hoteliers, tour operators and other standard-setting organisations.

Nikki White, ABTA’s Head of Destinations & Sustainability said: “Travelife is supported by the EU, hotels across the world and by large international tour operators and smaller independents. It has become the international certification scheme of choice for the travel industry. In order to ensure credibility, grow the scheme and keep it relevant to all its members and subscribers, we need to ensure it has the most up-to-date and relevant criteria. This review will do just that, and we look forward to hearing and considering all interested parties’ recommendations.”

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