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EU Eco-label Certification Towards Sustainable Tourism Development

September 16, 2020 – The Secretariat for Tourism and Entrepreneurship and the Tourist Organization of Tivat will bear the costs of certification of individual registered issuers of tourist accommodation for obtaining the EU Eco-label certificate, considering trends that more and more guests, tourists, and high-paying clients are considering their contribution to environmental protection.

Tourism is the industry that has suffered the most significant losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will unequivocally experience the most significant transformation in the years to come. As we know it, mass tourism is probably a thing of the past, while sustainability is becoming the principle idea behind the future tourism development of many different destinations. In this sense, Tivat can boast several quality initiatives that are pushing the city towards becoming a recognizable green destination worldwide.

In the last 15 years, Montenegro has experienced accelerated tourism development, which cannot be said to have been planned and developed strategically with a clear vision of its direction and goals. Without a doubt, as can be easily seen in the landscape, environmental responsibility, and sustainability in the broadest sense of the word were not the main criteria for defining development policies. I there had been a strategic approach at all.  The current year has shown us that a country’s economy cannot rely on a secondary economic branch such as tourism. It has also demonstrated that sustainability in tourism is what all destinations that intend to survive require, finding themselves in a new, post-COVID-19 tourist map of the world.

Bearing in mind the negative consequences that the pandemic has on tourism, primarily on the private accommodation sector, the Municipality of Tivat, in cooperation with UNDP, has launched an initiative to support this area. The Secretariat for Tourism and Entrepreneurship and the Tourist Organization of Tivat will bear the costs of certification for individual registered accommodation providers to obtain the EU Eco-label certificate.

eu eco label

EU Eco-label Logo

The EU Eco-label is the leading ecolabel in Europe, established in 1992 by a European Commission regulation, to enable service users to identify products and services that are less harmful to the environment. The EU Eco-label is also a confirmation that certain products and services meet high environmental protection standards. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the negative impact of consumption and production on the environment, health, and climate change. Certified tourist facilities with this stamp of quality have an advantage over the competition and can attract guests with higher purchasing power worldwide.

The Municipality of Tivat sent an invitation to providers of private accommodation on September 10, and the interest expressed exceeded the support plan for this year on the first day. The support they provide in cooperation with the Tourist Organization of Tivat includes covering the costs of the audit, registration fee, and two-year fees for the use of the label, which represents a value of € 590 per facility. Although under this funding tranche, support for obtaining the EU Eco-label certificate will be provided for only ten applicants, the Secretariat for Tourism continues to collect data on all facilities that meet the quality label’s criteria to provide them with support in the future.

The EU Eco-label is a recognizable European eco-label for hotels, small accommodation facilities, and campsites, where online reservations dominate. The certificate is issued for five years, after which compliance with the given criteria is reassessed. Certified facilities must meet the requirements relating to the application of environmental protection concepts, energy and water savings, waste reduction, promotion of nature tourism, and sustainable transport. Two years ago, the Municipality of Tivat started promoting eco-certification of tourist facilities, when four hotels applied for the EU Eco-label. Hotel Palma managed to complete the procedure and secure the certificate confirming its eco-responsible business.

“With the current process, we are continuing activities aimed at raising the quality of service and promoting Tivat as a city that nurtures and promotes the green economy.” The focus is now on individual accommodation providers, the category most affected at the moment by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the next period, we will provide support to local travel agencies, because they also can apply environmental standards in their business,” Vujović emphasized.

eu eco label tivat waterfront

Tivat Waterfront Pine, Photo by Antonela Stjepčević

“Current trends in Europe and worldwide show that more and more guests, tourists, and high-paying clients are considering their contribution to environmental protection. It determines their choice of destination and accommodation, and emphasizes the importance of green access in tourism,” stated the Director of Tivat Tourist Organization Danica Banjevic.

“The significant interest from private accommodation providers for EU Eco-label certification is confirmation that we are on the right track in the process of developing Tivat as a sustainable tourist destination. This certification is one part of the activities that will help our approach to the Green Destinations program. Accommodation providers who receive this certificate will also have more intensive marketing support from TO Tivat. After the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable development is even more significant,” Banjević emphasized.

TO Tivat will participate this year in the online conference Global Green Destinations Days, which takes place from 6 to October 9, with a presentation on the topic “Certification to support destination recovery.”

“This will be another opportunity to promote Tivat as a pilot destination in Montenegro, which has started the process of certification of Green Destinations,” says the Director of the Tourist Organization of Tivat.