Certification Services for Tourism Businesses

Tourism businesses that engage in our certification auditing process and demonstrate compliance with our sustainable tourism standard may be eligible to use the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.

The Rainforest Alliance works with hotels, inbound and outbound tour operators and other tourism businesses to help them improve their environmental, social and economic practices. Our Sustainable Tourism Standards for Hotel and Lodging Services and Inbound Tour Operators are GSTC-Recognized standards, which means they include all of the elements of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators.

Those enterprises that become interested in also becoming certified by Rainforest Alliance, can also apply for being audited against our sustainable tourism standard on a separate procedure and if meeting our requirements, they are eligible to receive promotional benefits, including the use of the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal.

Sustainable tourism services include:

  • Training Modules -- Through one-day seminars and multi-day workshops, we provide the knowledge and tools to manage a tourism business sustainably.
  • Technical Assistance -- Our qualified assessors help businesses create a sustainable management plan tailored to each specific company’s needs.
  • Certification audits -- An auditor or auditor team makes an on-site visit to evaluate a business’s adoption of sustainability practices against our sustainability standard in order to determine if they meet the requirements to become Rainforest Alliance Certified.
  • Marketing Benefits -- Businesses that fulfill certain requirements are eligible to receive promotional benefits, including use of the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, representation at local and international trade shows and inclusion in promotional websites and printed materials.

Training sessions and audits cover topics such as clean technologies, waste management and recycling, carbon offsets, biodiversity conservation, cultural preservation, gender equality, administration and planning, service quality and green marketing. All of our tools and modules meet Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

Find out about upcoming workshops and seminars in your area by contacting sustainabletourism@ra.org.

Learn more about becoming certified by contacting racert.mesoamerica@ra.org.

Review the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Hotels and Lodging Services Standard [PDF, 332KB].

Review the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Inbound Tour Operators Standard [PDF, 314KB].

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Why should I get certified?

By adopting sustainable practices and becoming Rainforest Alliance Certified, a tourism business can:

  • Ensure the future of its water and energy sources and protect the natural and cultural treasures that draw visitors to the destination.
  • Cut costs by saving energy, using less water and reducing staff turnover.
  • Give its guests a more authentic and memorable experience and earn customer support and loyalty by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.
  • Receive marketing and promotional benefits from the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Improve its competitiveness and reach international markets, which are increasingly demanding sustainable services.
  • Prepare for certification by a member of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas or (in the future) a program accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
How can I get certified?

In order to become Rainforest Alliance Certified, a tourism business must:

  • Be legally established for a minimum of one year and follow all of the laws of the country in which it operates.
  • Have a valid, signed certification agreement with the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Receive a certification audit visit and meet at least 70 percent overall of the Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable tourism standard and meet 100% of the critical criteria included in it.
  • Undergo a certification audit every 12 months and continue to meet the required percentages of the criteria.

Depending on where the business operates, there may be funds available to subsidize the cost of the certification audit, either partially or fully. For information about fees, please contact racert.mesoamerica@ra.org.

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