Referencial Normativo BIOSPHERE Discover

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOR VISITOR CENTRES, MUSEUMS AND ACTIVE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

CONTENIDO TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

I. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL CENTRES: VISITOR CENTRES, MUSEUMS AND ACTIVE TOURISM ACTIVITIESO

1. INSTRUMENTS FOR A RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

1.1 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

1.2 PLAN OF ACTION

1.3 STAFF MOTIVATION AND TRAINING PLAN

1.4 RESPONSIBLE MARKETING

1.5 LEGAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

2. PRESERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

2.1 INTEGRATION IN THE CULTURAL REALITY OF THE DESTINATION

2.2 PARTICIPATION IN THE PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL RESOURCES

2.3 PROMOTION OF KNOWLEDGE AMONG VISITORS

3. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DESTINATION

3.1 PROMOTION OF THE ECONOCMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY

3.2 RESPONSIBLE ATTITUDE TOWARDS EMPLOYEES

4. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

4.1 LANDSCAPE PROTECTION

4.2 ENERY MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

4.3 WATER MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

4.4 WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROLS

4.5 MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF SERVICES AND PRODUCT CONSUMPTION

4.6 EMISSION MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

4.7 SOIL QUALITY CONTROL AND PROTECTION

4.8 NOISE POLLUTION CONTROL

5. CLIENT SATISFACTION AND INVOLVEMENT IN THE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM SYSTEM

5.1 CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITY

5.2 CLIENT SAFETY

5.3 CLIENT INFORMATION SERVICES

5.4 ACCESSIBILITY

II. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITOR CENTRES AND MUSEUMS

III. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR ACTIVE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

 

INTRODUCTION

Visitor centres and museums are a basic enclave for determining the sustainability of a destination. Through them, the visitor is able to get some orientation about its activities and characteristics which may be key elements in terms of attitude and awareness. Knowing the traditions, gastronomy, crafts, natural and cultural values of a destination will promote the integration of the visitor and improve his appreciation and respect towards the destination, as well as promote the local economy.

On the other hand, active tourism is currently an increasingly demanded form of tourism where a large amount a products has emerged. Its appropriate orientation will turn these activities into a tool for the visitor to know and respect the ecological and heritage values of the destination or, on the contrary, to increase its deterioration. Sea sports, climbing or hiking may be an important resource for the local community, but they can also have severe impacts upon natural and cultural heritage.

For these reasons, the implementation of the principles of the Responsible Tourism Policy into these centres and activities leads to the visitor's appreciation of the destination and therefore a promotion of a responsible attitude in the activities carried out in order to avoid the deterioration of the destination's values.

We thus define a set of sustainability requirements for these centres and activities to obtain the "Biosphere Discover" distinction.

The standard consists of two parts: The first one corresponds to general requirements applicable to any type of centre. The second one includes specific requirements for museums and visitor centres in the first place and secondly for tourism activities.

I. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL CENTRES: VISITOR CENTRES, MUSEUMS AND ACTIVE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

1. INSTRUMENTS FOR A RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

In order to fulfil the principles of sustainability, we need to have some basic management tools to back up the Sustainable Tourism System. We therefore need to define a responsible tourism policy reflecting the basic and fundamental guidelines of the strategy applied in this area. Based on this policy, we establish a target plan properly articulated for higher effectiveness. In this sense, we need to establish some training mechanisms for employees in order to achieve their involvement and motivation. Finally, the constant knowledge of the applicable regulations is essential to ensure compliance.

1.2 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY

The establishment should have a Responsible Tourism Policy that is documented and translated into customary languages, formally approved by the highest management authority of the establishment and communicated in an on-going manner to staff members and visitors. This policy will include the commitments made concerning sustainable tourism, in particular:

  • Adoption of the principles of the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism.
  • Commitment to prevent negative impacts of facilities and activities, and to maximize positive impacts.
  • Commitment to on-going improvement in all areas of sustainability: Socio-cultural, economic and environmental.
  • Commitment to the satisfaction of internal and external clients.

1.3 PLAN OF ACTION

The centre shall elaborate, document and operate a Plan of Action (PA) based on the Responsible Tourism Policy. This Plan of Action shall establish the specific targets and priorities needed for the fulfilment of the commitments made. This plan shall be structured with the following contents:

  • A prioritised list of objectives to be achieved, specifying the person responsible for achieving each point.
  • A general description of the measures designed to achieve these objectives and the deadlines and means for implementing the measures. The total timeline shall not exceed three years, by which time the Plan must have been reviewed and updated, setting new targets for improvement.
  • A definition of the follow-up planned for these objectives, to monitor compliance and to take action if necessary.

1.4 STAFF MOTIVATION AND TRAINING PLAN

- The centre shall provide the means to ensure the involvement of employees within the Responsible Tourism System. It may include environmental awareness, safety or quality actions, informative actions about the destination, etc.

1.5 RESPONSIBLE MARKETING

All promotional messages of the centre shall include true, clear and accurate information about the environmental quality and other sustainability specifications of the establishment and the destination. Furthermore, the information provided through different channels shall not create expectations that cannot be met or ambiguously describe the different aspects of the establishment’s commitment and sustainable offer.

1.6 LEGAL AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

The centre shall ensure the constant knowledge of all applicable legal and regulatory requirements in terms of sustainability in order to ensure compliance. They must therefore keep an up-to-date record which includes all of them in a clear and understandable way.

2. PRESERVATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

For humankind, cultural diversity is as necessary as biological diversity is for living beings. Cultural resources are the historic memory of a community and the expression of its artistic, ethical and religious sentiment. Thus, the cultural factor of a destination is an identity in itself, and it should therefore be preserved for the benefit of present and future generations. The centre's role in its preservation is essential, not only through direct action but also through its influence on visitors.

2.1 INTEGRATION IN THE CULTURAL REALITY OF THE DESTINATION

- The establishment shall respect the local architecture when building its facilities.

- Whenever possible, the establishment shall include in the interior decoration elements from the local culture and crafts.

2.2 PARTICIPATION IN THE PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL RESOURCES

- All local cultural resources, both tangible and intangible, shall be promoted and protected, supporting their preservation and continuity together with local authorities and/or associations whenever possible.

2.3 PROMOTION OF KNOWLEDGE AMONG VISITORS

- Whenever possible, the establishment shall promote the visitors' knowledge about the local culture and provide them with appropriate information.

- Centres offering restaurant or buffet services with food prepared in their own kitchens shall include local cuisine in their menus. All waiters shall be familiar with local gastronomy and recommend local wines and dishes available in the menu.

3. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DESTINATION

 Tourism offers the possibility of improving the economic lifestyle of the local population, because income generally increases and is better distributed in tourist destinations, as long as it is planned according to sustainability principles. In order to do so, centres shall contribute with their abilities to improve the socio-economic development of the destination in which they are active. Moreover, it must ensure a responsible behaviour towards its employees, ensuring decent conditions.

3.1 PROMOTION OF THE ECONOCMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY

- The centre shall be an integral part of the social life of the community, cooperating and participating in the different social events held, even lending its facilities if possible.

- The centre shall cooperate with local administrations in promoted sustainability projects, such as Local Agenda 21, Biosphere Destination certification, etc.

- All centres shall carry out a responsible purchasing policy which prioritizes local suppliers.

- It shall cooperate in training activities with schools or training centres, offering student visits, internships, etc.

- It shall promote the employment of local residents.

3.2 RESPONSIBLE ATTITUDE TOWARDS EMPLOYEES

- The centre shall employ or promote their employees regardless of their gender or race.

- Whenever possible, the improvement of the quality of life of employees shall be promoted.

- Child labour will not be allowed under any circumstances.

- The prevention of occupational risks for all employees shall be ensured applying the corresponding legislation, if any. In case there is no legislation, the establishment shall ensure the safety of its employees based on the international provisions of ILO.

- The recruitment of people with disabilities shall be promoted.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Biological diversity is essential for ensuring the continuity of life on this planet, because it maintains the environmental conditions that we need. Natural resources are what made up the tourist area: Landscape, geographical relief, climate, sea, rivers and lakes, physical environment, flora and fauna. Their conservation is therefore crucial to the survival of tourism itself, and if centres and establishments do not control their own impact on the environment, tourism itself could come to an end.

4.1 LANDSCAPE PROTECTION

- It shall be ensured that neither the centre nor its outside facilities have an impact on the landscape, e.g. air-conditioning systems, telecommunication devices (antennas), fuel storage or power generation facilities, etc.

- Outdoor signage, waste containers, outdoor furniture etc., shall not have an impact either.

- Gardens shall prioritize native species in order not to cause a severe alteration of the natural landscape.

4.2 ENERY MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

- The centre shall have an updated and operational system allowing the monitoring of data related to energy consumption. Such system will be the basic element of an energy management system.

- The centre shall also implement general saving practices such as turning lights and devices off after use, avoiding the unnecessary use of air conditioning or heating, disconnecting devices that are not being used, etc.

- Best technologies available shall be used in order to reduce energy consumption: Clean energies, bioclimatic techniques, use of waste heat, etc.

- The purchase of equipment with the highest energy efficiency, including luminaires, boilers, white goods, etc., shall be promoted.

- Energy losses shall be minimized through proper maintenance and insulation.

 4.3 WATER MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

- The centre shall have an updated and operational system allowing the monitoring of data related to water consumption. Such system will be the basic element of a water management system.

- General saving practices, such as avoiding leaving taps open, repairing leaks, etc. shall be implemented.

- The centre shall ensure the maximum water saving through the minimization of unloads of toilet tanks, the use of low consumption faucets and showers (use of flow reducers), push buttons or sensors.

- In any case, the establishment shall have the corresponding administrative authorization for all its discharges.

- Input of pollutants (chemicals, oils, etc.) into drainage systems shall be avoided, using indicators at critical points and applying preventing measures (anti-spill trays, etc.).

4.4 WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

- General practices to minimize waste generation (such as the use of returnable packages) and instructions about adequate internal waste management shall be implemented.

- The centre shall an implemented and operational system ensuring the separation of waste in the establishment and the subsequent delivery to an authorised waste manager.

4.5 MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF SERVICES AND PRODUCT CONSUMPTION 

- None of the products purchased by the centre shall come from species considered as endangered by international conventions or protected by law in the country where the establishment is located. The breeding, cultivation and adoption of specimens to ensure their survival or help in the preservation of species are excluded.

- The use of chemicals (detergents, insecticides, plant protection products, etc.) shall be minimized and their environmental compatibility maximized. Safety sheets shall be provided in order to have all relevant information about the product. Employees in charge of their use shall be provided with all relevant information.

-The use of recycled paper and implementation of best practices, such as using both sides of paper sheets, e-mails, etc., shall be promoted. Under no circumstances chloride-based paper shall be used.

- In order to ensure that its origin is compatible with sustainability principles, all wood purchased shall be certified.

- Priority should be given to those suppliers/subcontractors following best practices regarding sustainability, both in terms of products and processes. This shall me communicated to all of them.

4.6 EMISSION MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL

- All fire extinguishers, refrigerating and air conditioning equipment shall use propellants and refrigerators that do not harm the ozone layer.

- Equipment, vehicles and boilers shall have a maintenance plan to ensure proper operation and control their emissions.

- The use of coal, high sulphur fuels (over 0.2 %), not approved wood or wood from forest sites affected by desertification or protected areas, organic or synthetic oilseed residues from other industrial uses, or any other type of scarce of dangerous fuel will be considered as absolutely incompatible with the fulfilment of this standard.

- Whenever fossil fuels are used, those less pollutant shall be prioritized: Methane instead of propane, propane instead of gasoil, etc.

4.7 SOIL QUALITY CONTROL AND PROTECTION

- The centre shall protect the soil quality making an appropriate ground cover or implementing protective measures in critical locations (anti-spill trays, emergency absorbents, etc.).

- Fuel storage shall ensure its adequate state of conservation, checking for leakage and implementing the necessary measures. In any case, such storage shall be legal whenever applicable.

4.8 NOISE POLLUTION CONTROL

- The centre shall ensure the minimization of noise emissions from equipment and machines through proper maintenance and insulation.

- The establishment shall ensure suitable noise levels in every area through the adoption of best practices for employees and clients, establishing silence periods, TV and telephone limiters, etc.

5. CLIENT SATISFACTION AND INVOLVEMENT IN THE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM SYSTEM

Tourism quality has traditionally focused on every aspect related to safety, comfort and service. These are basic aspects for the tourist experience and shall therefore be considered by this standard. However, if we understand quality as meeting the expectations of tourists, we shall also include aspects as fundamental as the ones previously addressed. Conservation of natural and cultural resources, socio-economic development of the destination, etc. We shall therefore involve visitors in our efforts in terms of sustainability, so they appreciate them and become part of them. We will so achieve a tourist product which, besides fulfilling all basic requirements in terms of quality, will go one step beyond thanks to the involvement of the visitor within the reality of the destination visited through knowledge and awareness. Finally, our facilities shall be accessible to everyone.

5.1 CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITY

Working guidelines shall be set in order to ensure the cleanliness and maintenance of the centre.

- There must be guidelines for control in order to ensure that services and customer service are appropriately delivered.

- The centre shall keep an updated system to receive, document and answer suggestions and complaints from clients.

- Clients shall be informed about the possibility of submitting their suggestions to the Responsible Tourism Institute, providing them with the necessary information to do so.

5.2 CLIENT SAFETY

- The centre must ensure the adoption of the necessary measures for ensuring the client’s safety in terms of fire prevention and escapes routes according to the law. In case there is no legislation, it shall be proven that measures are being implemented based on commonly accepted benchmarks.

- A crisis and emergency response plan shall be ensured for the purpose of client protection.

- The necessary hygiene and security standards shall be ensured according to legal provisions, if applicable. In case there is no legislation, it shall be proven that this requirements are ensured based on commonly accepted benchmarks.

5.3 CLIENT INFORMATION SERVICES

- The centre must inform its clients about the activities carried out in favour of the destination regarding environmental, social and economic aspects, and enabling the participation of the client to the extent feasible.

- Also, the centre shall also explain the importance of their involvement in the preservation of the destination.

5.4 ACCESSIBILITY

- The centre shall ensure, as far as possible, that its facilities are accessible to all, including persons with disabilities and others who have specific access requirements.

II. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITOR CENTRES AND MUSEUMS

- The centre shall be devoted to issues resulting in the appreciation of natural, cultural or social values of the destination.

- The aim of all offered information shall be the visitor's knowledge and respect towards the destination.

- All information provided shall be true. It shall be regularly updated if necessary.

- There must be a conservation plan that ensures the preservation of the exhibited heritage when applicable.

- Adequate training of those responsible for providing information to visitors shall be ensured, both from a technical point of view (precise knowledge of the exhibited assets) and in terms of customer service (guidelines on how to treat visitors).

- There must be an adequate emergency plan in order to ensure the prevention or minimization of the effects of accidents on the heritage.

- In order to reach a wider audience, the information provided shall be translated into at least two languages.

III. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR ACTIVE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

- All activities carried out shall aim to link visitors to the natural values of the destination through respect and impact minimization. Under no circumstances shall activities harmful to the environment be offered.

- Visitors shall be informed beforehand of the characteristics of the activities and the elements they will be able to enjoy (flora, fauna, relevant geological elements, etc.) in order to enhance their appreciation based on knowledge.

- The visitor shall be provided with information on inappropriate behaviour: prohibition to feed or touch animals, prohibition to litter or harm vegetation or geological elements, prohibition to move elements, fire prevention, etc. Visitors shall sign a document by which they accept to comply with these principles.

- A comprehensive risk analysis for each activity shall be carried out. Visitors shall be informed of such risks. Also, they shall be provided with information on how to minimize them: self-protection rules. Clients shall sign a document by which they declare that they are aware of the associated risks and that they have been informed about the self-protection rules. This document will also include the obligation to follow the monitor's indications.

- The centre shall provide reliable weather information, including weather alerts by Civil Protection, in order to adapt its activities accordingly.

- Age, previous experience and equipment requirements for each activity shall be clearly defined and notified to the client.

- All equipment used shall be approved. In case there is no approval or standardization requirements, safety and guarantee conditions will be considered, according to the manufacturer's indications.

- There shall be an appropriate maintenance plan for the equipment in order to minimize risks related to technical failures: inspection of bottles and regulators, fixings, etc.

- All staff members shall be qualified in order to ensure a satisfactory development of activities, both in terms of technical and customer service criteria. Whenever applicable, the certification required by aviation and maritime law will be demanded for training or accompaniment.

- There shall be an emergency response plan in order to be able to ensure a quick and effective action in all situations. Instructors shall have a reliable device for communicating with the central office and emergency services.

- There shall be full information about the visitor, as well as contact information in case of emergency or accident.

- Clients shall sign a document by which they declare that they have been informed about the risks associated to the activity and the self-protection rules. Also,

- The centre shall have a public liability police, as well as medical and accident insurance.

- All information provided to the client shall be written in a language he/she understands.