The Smart Voyager program was created in 1998, with the aim to minimize the environmental impacts of tourism.
In the year 2002, Smart Voyager was recognized by UNESCO, as an example that should be implemented in all of the natural patrimonies of humanity. Smart Voyager is a founding member of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas.
The Smart Voyager program endeavors to convert the concept of sustainability into something real, practical and necessary in the context of a competitive market, with an aim to improve the relationship of tourism with its surroundings.
Smart Voyager considers rigorous environmental, social and security norms, that, when completed, guarantee a decrease in the environmental impacts that a tourist operation may generate, ensuring direct benefits to the local population and an active participation by the tourist in the conservation of natural resources.
Smart Voyager is a program of Conservación y Desarrollo(CyD), an Ecuadorian nonprofit, SmartVoyager minimizes the impact of tour boats in the Galapagos Islands by improving social and environmental conditions of boat operations. Operators that meet the program's Standards are certified and may use the SmartVoyager® label in marketing their Services. The label gives travelers the assurance that they are supporting operators who care about the environment, wildlife conservation, and the well-being of workers and local communities.
The certification standards are organized into twelve principles:
Application Applicants should submit an application form to Conservación y Desarrollo (CyD) These application forms can be requested via email firstname.lastname@example.org
After the application has been submitted, the tour operator usually performs a self-assessment or internal review to determine its level of compliance with the standards.
In some cases, the operator may request a short evaluation to decide whether or not an on-site assessment needs to be performed. If so, CyD assigns an assessor to perform this evaluation (pre-assessment).
On-site assessments are required for all operations. The scope and intensity of the assessment depends on the size and type of operation.
An International Certification Committee awards a status to the operation:
(a) Approved: when the operation complies with at least 80% of the total SmartVoyager standards and there are no fatal flaws.
(b) Denied: when the operation does not comply with SmartVoyager standards and it is not expected that improvements will occur in the short term.
Other statuses are:
(c) Pending: when waiting for the Certification Committee's decision after evaluation or assessment has taken place.
(d) In review: when non-compliance is suspected or claims have been received.
(e) Suspended: when proven non-compliant with standards.
(f) De-licensed: when violations of the standards persist.
Approved operations must enter into a certification contract with the CyD for use of the certification marks.
Companies are required to submit annual reports on their certified operations. All certified boats are audited annually.
SmartVoyager's staff and/or external observers may randomly visit certified companies.
If serious violations of SmartVoyager standards occur or are suspected, CyD may perform emergency assessments of certified boats.
Nature related tourism is a rapidly growing market. SmartVoyager gives visitors the assurance that they are traveling with an operator who cares about the conservation of the islands while ensuring that passengers enjoy an educational adventure. SmartVoyager helps distinguish products in competitive markets.
Progressive operators with foresight and vision want to ensure that their business has a future. SmartVoyager helps producers improve management by employing Best Management Practices and finding the path toward sustainability.
On certified operations, employees receive proper training, fair treatment and wages, sanitary facilities and improved working conditions. This builds competence and pride, which lifts performance.
Certification improves the image of a company among peers, the government, consumers and the general public. SmartVoyager brings prestige, praise and publicity.
Certification allows citizen conservationists and industries to take a proactive and market based approach to problems instead of waiting for government regulations.
SmartVoyager hopes to bring operators into international technical discussions and put them in direct contact with the latest information. Managers learn new practices and technologies from their progressive peers.
Many operators want to be good citizens and responsible members of their local and corporate communities. SmartVoyager certification standards give them guidance on how to reduce the environmental impacts and increase the social benefits of their business.
SmartVoyager is a program of Conservación y Desarrollo (CyD), an Ecuadorian nonprofit group and is member of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas
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