We have developed a system of certification in ecotourism so as to objectively assess how tourism services and programmes comply with the principles of ecotourism. The criteria are divided into eight groups, which correspond to the principles that govern ecotourism:
- Sustainable management
- Focus on natural areas
- Heritage interpretation
- Protection of the natural environment
- Nature conservation
- Development of local communities
- Tourist satisfaction
- Correct marketing
The criteria are divided into two categories:
- Basic criteria. They are the basic rules that must be met by the product subject to certification in order for the evaluation to continue.
- Complementary criteria. They are the rules that finalise the evaluation of a product and define it as an ecotourism product. In addition to meeting the basic criteria, meeting at least 50% of the complementary criteria certifies the product as complying with the principles of ecotourism.
To obtain ecotourism certification, the product must meet all the basic criteria and 50% of the complimentary criteria applicable to the product.
The Eco-Romania ecotourism certification system adapts the international experience to the Romanian context. It was developed in 2005-2007 in accordance with the Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Programme promoted by the Australian Ecotourism Association (NEAP is the world’s first ecotourism accreditation system) and Nature’s Best developed by the Swedish Ecotourism Association (the first ecotourism certification system in the Northern Hemisphere).