Sector Specific Standards
The STEP Standard includes seven primary themes that are applicable to all businesses. Each tourism business sector is then provided an additional set of criteria most applicable to its scope of operations. The following is an overview of the STEP Eco-Certification sector specific standards:
Accommodations are defined as facilities designed for transient occupancy to house overnight visitors or travelers. Accommodations typically include, but are not limited to, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, condominiums, cottages, eco-lodges, home-stays, hostels, hotels, inns, lodges, motels and resorts.
Common accommodations best practices include: facility management, safety, employee training guest rooms, public areas, and kitchen operations. The accommodation may offer air, land, or water-based transportation and/or tours as separate services. These services are assessed separately. It is important to note that attractions such as spas, golf courses, or ski areas associated with the properties are not included in Eco-Certification scope unless otherwise noted.
Small/Medium Accommodations: 1-99 rooms
Large Accommodations: 100+ rooms
Luxury Accommodations: Any size with five star/diamond or higher rating
Tour Operators are defined as companies whose main business concerns responsibility of individuals or groups of people between one or more places. Tours typically combine multiple vacation elements such as walking, driving, viewing, and interacting with the environment. This category encompasses both in-bound and out-bound tour operators as well as tour wholesalers and travel agents. This Eco-Certification scope includes all office facilities and tour activities owned or operated by the organization. This Eco-Certification scope does not include those tour activities that are subcontracted out to other tour operators. Subcontracted tours are considered a part of supply chain management for the purposes of the certification.
Common tour operator best practices include: interpretation programs, tour guide training, guest communications, supply chain management, ecosystem preservation, and community impacts. Tour operators may offer air, land, or water-based transportation and/or overnight accommodations as separate services. As mentioned, these services are assessed separately.
Small/Medium Tour Operators: 1-20 itineraries/destinations/activities
Large Tour Operators: 21+ itineraries/destinations/activities
Sustainable Shore Excursions: shore excursions providers working with the cruise line industry
Dive Centers: dive center operations and marine-based tours
Attractions are defined as facilities and/or natural areas with fixed infrastructure that offer entertainment, interpretation, and/or educational experiences for the public.
Attractions typically include, but are not limited to, aquariums, heritage centers, museums, parks facilities (city, state, regional, or national), theme parks, visitor centers, and zoos. It is important to note that aquariums and zoos associated with the attraction are currently not included in Eco-Certification.
Common attractions best practices include: interpretation programs, facility management, guest communications, and community engagement. Each attraction may offer overnight accommodations, tours, and or air, land, or water-based transportation as separate services. In these cases these services are assessed under a separate Eco-Certification scope (e.g. accommodations or tour operator).
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