Local Value Added in Latin America
With the support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) we carried out the TourCert Latina project from 2015 to 2019. Starting in Peru and Ecuador under the project name TourCert Andina, we were able to successfully anchor the TourCert system in Colombia and Costa Rica as well, thus enabling people in Latin America to have a better future through sustainable tourism. Even after the end of the project, the local community is very committed; certified companies are already developing new products and establishing cooperation networks across countries and continents.
Our goal – strengthening local tourism actors
To us, empowerment is the key! By training local people and sensitizing them for social and ecological issues, we ensure that companies develop in a self-dynamic and self-organised manner and can become sustainable through their own strength and conviction.
The aim of the TourCert qualification programme is to enable local actors to acquire new skills and to promote the dissemination of sustainable tourism. For the local population, new jobs can be created in the long term and negative effects of increasing tourism on local culture and the environment can be avoided.
This also benefits German tour operators and enables them to set up the value-added chain of their tours with a promising future.
Step by Step
First of all, we built a local network which helped us to adapt the TourCert system to local requirements, before we were able to begin with the practical training of TourCert consultants and auditors.
Training on location
Local auditors assess the companies according to the strict TourCert guidelines and report to the regional certification council, who decides on the certification.
Local consultants train sustainability managers. They accompany the companies in implementing a sustainability management system and guide them step by step towards certification.
Ensuring quality & networking
TourCert supports certified companies in further developing their products and their product quality in order to create a network of reliable partners for European tour operators.
Intensive exchange and joint marketing activities at workshops and events, on the e-learning platform, via social media, the newsletter, press trips, or at trade fairs unite the TourCert community.
Quite a lot has happened since the project TourCert Latina was launched in May 2015:
As part of the project, we were able to successfully adapt our TourCert system, which has already been tried and tested in Germany, to the local conditions in Latin America and establish independent structures in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica.
26 local consultants and 13 auditors were trained – far more than planned. In addition, 287 people have successfully qualified as sustainability managers. A total of almost 2,500 training courses or e-learnings were conducted.
81 companies and destinations have achieved certification with the “TourCert label” in the course of the project, including four entire destinations. 63 organisations were awarded the “TourCert Check” entry-level system. A further 14 companies are in the process of being certified.
In particular, the destination approach developed by TourCert was a great success and exceeded all expectations. Through the certification of four sustainable destinations with a total of 170 partner companies, the project achieved a very high broad impact.
The local network is having an impact, the interest in TourCert certification remains high and is expanding to other areas such as community tourism. TourCert is successfully represented locally by local offices and partner organisations and the TourCert community is constantly being expanded.
We were able to agree a strategic partnership with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) and establish the TourCert system as a national certification system. We have also established a cooperation with the Colombian business association Asociación de Turismo Responsable (ACOTUR).
Status: June 2019
Winner of EcoTrophea 2016
Every year since 1987, the German Travel Association (DRV) has awarded initiatives that show extraordinary commitment to environmental protection and social responsibility in tourism. In 2016, our project came out on top among 28 contestants and is the winner of the EcoTrophea 2016 – the “Oscar” of sustainable tourism in Germany.
"In the future it will no longer be important that we can go everywhere, but whether it is still worthwhile to get there."
Viva América Latina!
The TourCert team and its local partners are highly motivated to expand the system and introduce it in other Latin American countries. Further companies and destinations are already in the process of certification, which speaks for the sustainable effect of the project to make tourism in Latin America fairer in the long run.