Destination Greater Victoria (DGV) and its members celebrated receiving the Responsible Tourism Institute’s (RTI) prestigious Biosphere Certification. This makes making Greater Victoria the first urban destination in Canada or the United States to join an elite group of tourism destinations worldwide recognized for their commitment to principles of environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, equity and social responsibility.
Biosphere certification marks the latest milestone in DGV’s ongoing journey as a global leader in sustainable tourism among Destination Management Organizations. In 2021, DGV was certified by Ostrom Climate as the first major destination organization in North America to be Carbon Neutral, and in 2022, the first to be Climate Positive. DGV continues to reduce its carbon footprint and implement sustainability best practices through its collaboration with Synergy Enterprises, a noted corporate sustainability management firm.
While other tourism sustainability certification programs exist, RTI’s Biosphere certification is the most highly sought due to its credibility, its recognition worldwide and its alignment with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism +20 and the COP21 Paris Agreement to combat climate change. The value of certification is tremendous as travellers and meeting planners are increasingly considering factors like local quality of life, environmental impacts, and how a destination, its DMO and its tourism sector affects and serves local communities, when making decisions about where to travel or locate a conference.
Greater Victoria’s certification is based on a rigorous and collaborative assessment of Destination Greater Victoria and the region in relation to the United Nations’ SDGs and the development and external audit of an action plan outlining how sustainability best practices can continue to be fostered, implemented, monitored and improved within DGV and among its membership. The achievement was marked today with a celebration at The Parkside Hotel and Spa, one of four Greater Victoria hotels with its own individual Biosphere certification.