More than a year ago, Tourisme durable Québec, with the University of Sherbrooke, conducted a comparative study of the best tourism certifications in the world, which placed Biosphere Nº 1 at the top of the world ranking. Chalets Lanaudière and InterContinental Montréal are now the first certified entities in Quebec.
Linda Corbeil, the person in charge of the "sustainable transition" process at Chalets Lanaudière, proudly tells how the certification process with Biosphere went, and assures that at the beginning, "we were wondering how to implement sustainable development, what to measure, what actions to prioritise....". After using the Biosphere system, Ms Cobeil says "we now know how to do it realistically".
As the testimonies of the Chalets Lanaudière team tell us, obtaining a credible certification is not for all businesses (it requires a fairly high number of hours of work at the beginning) and the need for it may depend on your sector of activity in tourism. The main thing is to make the transition to sustainability on your own or with the help of a professional.
More than a year ago, Tourisme durable Québec, with a team of graduate students from the Université de Sherbrooke, conducted a comparative study of the best tourism certifications in the world, which placed Biosphere No. 1 at the top of the world ranking. TDQ then carried out a pilot project with some member companies to test this tool and, in parallel, Biosphere translated its entire system and methodology into French, with an external third-party auditing body capable of providing annual auditing services in French as well.
According to the managers of Chalets Lanaudière, "certification is also a tool for continuous improvement that can be worked on in an internal team", and in the case of their organisation, "it has meant about 100 hours of work in the first year, plus about 40 hours a year for monitoring and improvements".
According to Jean-Michel Perron, President of PAR Conseils, "certification is not yet essential, but it will be very soon. In the short term, they will be required by major travel intermediaries (Google Travel, Expedia, etc.) and will also be used to meet the requirements of associations, banks or government agencies for loans or subsidies".
And there is no shortage of reasons to make a serious commitment to sustainable transition:
To help save the planet (or rather the humans on the planet, as it can survive quite well without us).
Travellers will want to travel (and pay) responsibly.
Increasing market share
Distributed on the web (Google Travel, Trip Advisor, Booking.com...)
Human resources (attract and retain them)
Increased profitability (eco-conditionality, eco-tax)
Maintain tourism activity in the destination
Offer a better visitor experience
Importance of community relations
From Biosphere and the Responsible Tourism Institute, we congratulate the work of Chalets Lanaudière and InterContinental Montréal, as the pioneers in holding this Biosphere certification in Quebec, and we hope to continue accompanying in this process towards continuous improvement to more organisations that, like these, want to manage their business models in a more sustainable way.