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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

Follow our step by step guide

How much extra paperwork will I have to do?

Surprisingly very little. Filling in your application form and writing your action plan and green policy should really be the only new items you will have to do. The rest of the information required you should already have in one form or another; it’s just a case of presenting it to the assessor.

How much will it cost me?

Both your joining fee and annual fee are payable in the first year. The annual fee is payable each autumn thereafter. The fee is determined by the size and type of your business. See Membership Costs

If there is more than one type of business on your site, for example B&B and self-catering units, both will need to be assessed independently as different criteria are relevant and they may achieve different award levels. The largest business will be charged the usual joining and annual fee, and as long as the second business type is within a very short walk, this will only need to pay 50% of the usual annual fee.

I’m a small business is getting a grading expensive?

Many measures require little or no cost and can save you money immediately.

Some measures do require investment (either time or capital) but you are assessed in relation to the size, location and market for your business. We do not compare you to larger businesses and instead make viable recommendations that are low cost, relatively easy to implement, make cost savings or improve the experience for your visitors

Is Green Tourism part of Visit Scotland?

Green Tourism is an independent privately owned not-for-profit organisation that receives no funding and is not part of any government or tourism agency.  To find out more about Green Tourism check out its Development and Background

How often do I get graded?

Revisits take place once every 2-3 years and take on average 1-2 hours.

Do I have to be part of any Quality Assurance Scheme such as VisitScotland, QiT, AA?

Anyone can become a member of Green Tourism you do not need to be part of a quality assurance scheme.  However if you are quality graded you will gain additional credit on your Green Tourism Assessment.  If you are not in a quality scheme part of your green tourism assessment will cover quality issues to ensure all members are providing a good level of quality for their guests.

How long does a visit take?

Your first grading visit will take around 2 hours depending upon the size of the business.

What are the Benefits of Joining Green Tourism?

There are various benefits of Green Tourism membership, primarily an impartial assessment of your businesses sustainability – see the Membership Benefits Page for a full list.

Who can join Green Tourism?

The programme is aimed at all types of tourism businesses:

  • Accommodation Providers – including serviced accommodation ( Hotel, B&B’s, Guest Houses, etc.), self-catering, hostels, and holiday parks
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Activity providers – including boat and cycle hire operators
  • Food and Retail – including cafés, restaurants and shops
  • Others –  Corporate offices, tourist information centres, conference and event venues
  • Tour operators –bus tours

Why is certification important?

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability related issues. In particular, demand has grown for simple labels that allow consumers to make purchasing decisions based on environmental and ethical grounds.

Will my Green Tourism Grading take place at the same time as my Quality Grading?

No. The Green Tourism Grading visits are undertaken by independent, qualified environmental auditors who are managed by Green Business (UK) Ltd, not VisitScotland’s or VisitEngland’s Quality Grading advisors.

How do I prepare for a visit?

Read through the criteria and supporting documentation that you will have received when you expressed an interest or when you applied to join and try to implement as many measures as possible. See the guide to grades for details.

What happens during a visit?

The GT grading advisor will talk to you about the running of your business, the measures you have implemented and will ask to have a walk round the business including, kitchens, refuse areas, grounds, boiler rooms etc. Notes written on the day will make up a bespoke report for your business that will form the basis of a sustainability action plan.

How long will it take for me to be visited after I apply?

The green grading visits are always made by appointment.

Visits are undertaken to be as efficient as possible to reduce travel time and associated emissions. You will be contacted when a GT grading advisor is planning a trip to your area to arrange a convenient date and time. We will offer you at least one visit appointment within the first three months of membership.

Do I have to do every criteria measure?

No, there will be measures that you simply can’t do or are not appropriate to your business type. Concentrate on what you can do first then add other measures as you go along. Your grading adviser will be able to assist here.

If for any reason I am unable to undertake a measure can I still achieve my award?

The programme is flexible enough to cater for your strengths and weaknesses. As long as the business demonstrates a strong overall commitment to reducing its environmental impact there is plenty of potential to gain the award.

When should I calculate my Carbon Footprint?

This can be done at any time, ideally send it in before the visit or give it to your assessor on the day. If you have any difficulty call us on 01738 632162 or speak to your assessor on the day of your visit. You can use the calculator to produce an annual carbon footprint certificate, your certificate will compare your results with benchmarks from our database and over time will compare your performance from the last three years of data input.

Where can I find links to other useful information?

Here is a list of links to other organisations and sources of relevant information.