A major problem for most ecotourism businesses is a practice known as Greenwashing.
Greenwashing refers to a business that presents itself as sustainable, ecological, green, responsible, ecotourist friendly etc., when it does not comply with acceptable standards or may even be in contradiction of them. They compete unfairly with those who genuinely try to meet the criteria, and damage the credibility of the entire industry.
One way to determine which businesses are truly practicing eco-tourism or sustainable tourism, is through Certification.
Many products, such as food, electrical and mechanical items are certified to ensure they meet pre-determined standards
Environmental Certification is still relatively new and has only been around since 1987, and the socio-cultural aspects were only added in 1996 and 2000. It has now been recognized that other aspects such as negative environmental and social impacts from tourism need to be considered, and the Triple Bottom Line of sustainability is now recommended.
As a result, new and existing Sustainable Tourism Certification programs have taken into account all aspects of tourism sustainability: environmental, social & cultural and economic – the Triple Bottom Line.
ECO-Tourism Certification means that the Tour Operator/Service provider complies with all the pre-set GSTC criteria for Sustainable and Environmental Tourism, or Eco-Tourism.