But whether GBTS receives the award or not, the contribution it has given to the tourism industry has been unparalleled.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) presents itself as "the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK. Originally developed in partnership with Visit Scotland, it is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain, through the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT)."
GTBS was created in 1997 and since then, it has developed into "the largest and most established scheme of its type in the world", according to the organisation. Today, it has been shortlisted for the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2012, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the country, the results of which will be given on the 21st of April 2012.
Andrea Nicholas, the organisation's managing director, said that "this is fantastic news because it means our hard work on sustainable development is being recognized." But whether GBTS receives the award or not, the contribution it has given to the tourism industry has been unparalleled.
GBTS itself offers different awards to all kinds of tourism-related companies, including tour operators, language schools, activity providers, event venues, hostels, hotels and self-catering accommodation among other types of businesses. Companies are given a Bronze, Silver or Gold award according to how much sustainable they are.
The organisation defines tourism businesses as being green when they are "actively engaged in reducing the negative environmental and social impacts of their tourism operations." This is measured against a strict set of over 145 criteria, including waste minimisation, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, recycling, use of local produce, water efficiency, biodiversity and cultural heritage among many others. Member companies are evaluated by highly qualified advisors, and evaluations are repeated every two years to monitor efforts and improvements.
Through its meticulous and expert green accreditation program, the organisation has helped many companies become greener over the years. GBTS has about 2,500 member businesses in the UK and has advised about 5000 businesses in addition to those. "All together we've advised some 7,500 businesses on how to reduce their environmental impact, lower their running costs and source food and other produce locally whenever possible to help the local economy and the environment," the company stated.
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