FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, APRIL 26, 2023 – ONTARIO, CANADA – Today, after an eight month process, the Regional Tourism Office for Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington (RTO4) announced they have become the first destination in Ontario to be awarded GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification, by way of a rigorous assessment, review, and verification process. The process requires the destination to assess their sustainability performance across four categories; environmental, socio-economic, natural and cultural, and management using GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Standard which includes 117 questions, created in alignment with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and has been globally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
“On behalf of TIAO, we would like to congratulate Regional Tourism Organization 4 on being the first tourism region to achieve GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification through the Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Ontario project. We appreciate the dedication towards developing their action plan to guide their sustainable tourism future as part of our province. Thank you to our valued partner, GreenStep Solutions, for their expertise and guidance throughout this process. As we continue this forward motion of learning, respecting our land and each other – we continue to commit to advocating, sharing, and providing resources to advance sustainable tourism within Ontario.” – Carol Greenwood, VP, Operations & Partnerships, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.
Following the destination assessment review, and through the submission of extensive evidence, a team of GreenStep advisors thoroughly evaluated the evidence to ensure acceptability in line with the requirements for Certification. Huron, Perth, Waterloo, and Wellington has been awarded a bronze level grading and the GreenStep Certification designation.
Andrea Gardi, Executive Director of RTO4, says, “RTO4 is happy to have had GreenStep as a partner as it looks to realize the integration of more sustainable tourism practices within its region and Ontario as a whole. The process has been one of continued learning, and being in a unique position as an RTO GreenStep was extremely open and willing to listen and work with us about our needs and wants when it came to the action planning process, and truly understanding RTO4 as an organization. It’s quite a milestone to achieve certification, but recognize that this is just a small step in a larger journey of tourism’s evolution as a catalyst for more prosperous peoples and communities.”
“We congratulate RTO4 on this important achievement in measuring and verifying the sustainability performance of their destination, to help guide their continued improvement over time. Their commitment to the process is reflected in their sustainability action plan, and we look forward to seeing their progress over the coming years as they support the tourism industry throughout their region,” – Jenn Burling, Director of Sustainable Tourism
GreenStep was founded in 2008 to help small to medium-sized enterprises measure and improve their sustainability performance. To date, the organization has worked with more than 3000 businesses and organizations of all sizes, in a variety of industries such as tourism and hospitality, retail, professional services, and manufacturing. Through the Sustainable Tourism Division, GreenStep provides assessments, training, strategy and certifications to tourism businesses and destinations. GreenStep is the only Canadian-based provider of sustainable tourism certifications that cover all types of tourism businesses and destinations. For more information, visit www.greenstep.ca.
RTO4 is an independent, not-for-profit organization directed by an industry-led board of nine volunteer leaders from across the region. In addition to the board, six full-time and two part time/support staff work to uphold RTO4’s vision to provide exceptional and innovative tourism management and empower destinations through advocacy, engagement, and branding.
Contact GreenStep Solutions
Angela Nagy, President/CEO
GreenStep Solutions Inc.
Andrea Gardi, Executive Director
Regional Tourism Organization 4
519-271-7000 ext. 105