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Destination Sustainability Certifications

Destinations adhering to sustainability principles contribute to a long-term balance between economic, social cultural and environmental dimensions of the geographic areas in which they operate.

Third-party independent certifications, in alignment with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) destination criteria and the UN World Tourism Organization vision and principles, ensure destinations are held accountable for, actively planning, implementing initiatives and measuring their progresses towards a globally shared vision for sustainable tourism.


To commemorate World Earth Day, April 22 2021, the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association (KRTA) formally committed to a new path forward to support future planning and a more sustainable visitor economy as we work towards the post-COVID-19 tourism economy. KRTA was joined by the other regional destination management organizations in the province who operate under the umbrella of the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS).

Signing of the Biosphere Letter of Commitment solidifies a long-term commitment to achieving the internationally recognized Responsible Tourism Institute’s Biosphere Certification.

Read Provincial Press Release – April 2021
Watch Biosphere Announcement – Apr 2021
KRTA on Biosphere

On March 22, 2022, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association was officially certified as a Biosphere Certified Destination.

This certification is based on established standards in areas that include climate change, environment, social, economy and culture – and guarantees compliance and continuous improvement through a private, voluntary and independent certification system – which is evaluated on an annual basis.

KRTA’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices is realized in programs and incentives to directly and effectively support tourism operators in achieving their own sustainability goals. Those programs include free access to professional energy assessments, carbon accounting tools, communications tools and resources to help operators promote responsible travel and the new Sustainability Lens, in partnership with Sustainable Tourism 2030, a program that provides thorough assessment, benchmarking and a customized action plan for tourism businesses.

Officials from world-leading sustainability organizations and regional tourism officials speak to the significance of the certification along with the increasing priority being placed on a more sustainable tourism sector that supports a better quality of life for communities and residents, celebrates and protects Indigenous cultures through tourism and contributes to preserving BC’s natural spaces.

The  Kootenay Rockies Tourism region is the first destination to be certified by GreenStep Sustainable Tourism, the first and only Canadian-based provider of tourism industry certifications for both tourism businesses and destinations.

GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism Destination standard has recently achieved formal recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Prior to recognition, the certification standard went through a rigorous, 18-month long review and revision process to align with the GSTC  Criteria for Destinations, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), following global best practices for sustainable tourism destination management.

The certification is comprised of 117 questions and several hundred indicators that Kootenay Rockies Tourism completed and were reviewed together with a GreenStep assessor.

Upon completion of a formal evidence review, KRT achieved a Sustainable Tourism Silver Certified Destination.


Kootenay Rockies Tourism, following the strategic directions laid out in the 10-year Destination Development Strategy, is developing a sustainability charter in alignment with international standards* and metrics for destination sustainability.

The charter includes a final set of 34 sustainability indicators which will be used to periodically measure and monitor various aspects of destination sustainability, such as the economic contribution of tourism, employment, number of protected natural areas, resident’s satisfaction, seasonality, cultural preservation, water and energy consumption, waste management and greenhouse gas emissions.  A progress report on the Kootenay Rockies Destination Sustainability journey, including the 3-year action plan for the destination can be downloaded here.

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