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Ecotourism Kenya Welcomes New Members, New Facilities Earn Gold Eco Certification
Author: Imelda Ndomo
Date: 4 Aug 14

New members were recently inducted by Ecotourism Kenya, and taken through the six thematic areas the organization is engaged in, that is:

 1.       Enterprise and Community Development -

benefiting community tourism enterprises with advice, training and promotion services.

2.       Standards & Best Practices:-  

Under this is the flagship Eco-rating program, a volunteer eco-rating scheme started in 2002, with the first facilities ecorated in 2006. The eco-rating is valid for two years, after which facilities are taken through the rating process again. The process entails application for eco-rating followed by self evaluation against set criteria provided by EK and thereafter site audit from which a report is compiled for review and either approval and award of emblem, or the facility is advised on areas where it needs to improve.

There are 3 levels of eco-rating certification, i.e:

a)      Gold Certification:

Currently, there are a total of 12 gold rated facilities, which means these facilities have demonstrated superior best practice in sustainable tourism that can be emulated. A total of 4 facilities, all of whom demonstrated exemplary support to local communities, resources efficiency e.g all operate 100% on solar power, with one facility, Porini Camp, going a step further having no alternative back-up power, as well as engagement in environment conservation.

New entrants to the eco-rating scheme cannot directly attain the Gold certification; they must hold Silver certification for at least 6 months before they can attain Gold rating.

b)      Silver Certification - awarded to facilities that demonstrate innovation towards excellence in environmental conservation, responsible resource use and socio-economic investment.

c)       Bronze Certification - awarded to facilities that demonstrate awareness of and commitment to environmental conservation, responsible resource use and socio-economic investment.

 Also in line with promotion of responsible tourism, the 8th Eco warrior awards gala is set to be held on 9th October in the context of Magical Kenya Expo, under the theme ‘Responsible Tourism is Why I Love Kenya'. Nominations for the awards is underway and is set to close on 29th August. For more information, visit www.ecotourismkenya.org/award

 3.       Awareness Creation & Information Sharing through meetings, monthly talks and publications such as Naturals Magazine and the Green directory, a listing of Ecotourism members.

4.       Research & Consultancy in the area of ecotourism and sustainable tourism i.e. best practices, policy development, social evaluation of tourism enterprises and tourism planning.

5.       Leadership and Mentorship Program linking students/eco-tourism members with opportunities for industrial training and mentorship


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