The Manor House, the Godalming based meetings venue, has retained its Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) gold standard following a recent assessment by the organisation.
The GTBS is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK and according to a June 2013 report produced by Totem Tourism , is the World’s most credible Sustainable Tourism Programme. Originally developed in partnership with Visit Scotland, it is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain, through the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT).
“We are absolutely delighted to have retained this gold award” says Centre Manager Howard Canning. “We first achieved gold two years ago, but as the award is all about continuous improvement, we knew that we couldn’t sit on our laurels if we wanted to maintain the standard. We work hard at being green, so this is Mission Accomplished!”
Businesses opting to join Green Tourism are assessed by a qualified grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas, like energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and more. Those businesses that meet the required standard receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award based on their level of achievement. The membership network currently numbers around 2300 organisations in the UK, Ireland and Canada and there is a wide range of business types from hotels to tourist attractions and holiday parks.
“This award is the culmination of everybody’s efforts and we’re very proud of some of the initiatives that we have developed and built on over the last two years” continues Canning. “We now use more local suppliers than ever before for everything from food to laundry. Capitalising on new technology, we have also managed to reduce our utilities bills – we use about 20% gas than we did two years ago, for example, which is fantastic, given that the cost keeps increasing.”
Although the next assessment is not until 2015, Canning is keen not to stand still. “We have plenty still to do” he says, “not only do we have to maintain our gold standard for a third time, but the assessment criteria are due to change, which will make a gold much harder to achieve.”