Tourism Sustainability Certification Research Program

(was certification, accreditation & rating tourism offers of  in Dominican Republic and Haiti)
en ingles

Kiskeya Alternative Certification Program:
© Kalalú-Danza 1999

New (August 2000)  Code of Ethics for Kiskeya Alternativa and Kalalú-Danza, Code of Conduct for Visitors

"Regardless of the fact that these are great goals, they are difficult to measure and impossible to quantify. Assuming you wanted to know which are the "best ecotourism destinations," the question must follow: How is one to judge?
Membership in groups as the Environmental Conservation Tourism Association, Partners in Responsible Tourism or the Ecotourism Society requires only the payment of a membership fee. For example, the Ecotourism Society does not certify a member's compliance, nor does it endorse any member product or organization. Instead, the society requires members sign a pledge stating that the member will be a "responsible traveler or travel related professional who conserves natural environments and sustains the well-being of local people."

While this ethic sounds good and this self regulatory system boasts the best of intentions, missing are any type of audits, no system of double-checking information and no "teeth" in which members are judged or penalized for misconduct. The absence of accreditation programs has prompted some to suggest the creation of such a third-party organization, such as the firms that measure and certify organic coffee for the world market. But ecotourism is not only a commodity - it a social process, one that is exceedingly difficult to measure or regulate successfully."

Ron Mader, pasted and copied from 
Latin America's New Ecotourism: What is it?

Kiskeya Alternative Certification Program:

1- Process and Goals
Kiskeya Alternative Destination is a pilot (and research) project that aims developing tools and networks to support the development of sustainable (and alternative) tourism initiatives in Haiti and Dominican Republic, specially applications of the Newest Information and Communication Technologies.

Since its launching, the lack clear definition and commonly accepted criterion of what is "sustainable tourism (and ecotourism) was evident, as well and the missing any type of tools or mechanisms for measuring environmental, social, economic, and cultural sustainability of tourism initiatives, in both countries of Kiskeya island.

Kiskeya Alternative opened this program with the following goals:

  1. have a tool to be sure to integrate in our project only partners (tourism operators) that meet minimal levels of sustainability on the environmental, social and cultural aspects (unfortunately in Dominican Rep. and Haiti anyone can today label itself as "ecotourism"
  2. develop and continue the process in collaboration with other institutions (environmental Ngos, academic, official) to build real and complete tool for establishing a National Certification Program, that would be a powerful marketing tool (as social quality guaranty and differentiating "products")
  3. establish mechanisms for permanently monitor our integrated partners on their activities sustainability and "product quality"

2. Activities developed:

2.1 First phase (May June 1999) Bibliographical and Reference search And extensive bibliographic search was conducted in the Internet looking for tools, researchers, institutions, that, around the world and especially in the Caribbean, develop activities in this particular area. The result of this search are available on line Also, in this process numerous contacts where established with professionals .

Also we analyzed the particular legal, normative and used procedures for using the "ecotourism" name in both Haiti and Dominican Republic.

2.2 Second step the Tourism Sustainability Identification Questionnaire (V.1) (June July 1999)

A first tool was build up, much out of the bibliographic references, exchanges with professional and the field experience of the two researchers, Yacine Khelladi and Myriam Botto. Between the 7th and 11th of July a reality check of the questionnaire validity was conducted on the field, interviewing 4 institutions (one private business, 2 Ngos, and a community association)

The results of this phase can be accessed
3.1 The National Tourism Sustainability Certification Network

Our next move will be to present our preliminary work and results to several institutions (environmental Ngos, academic, official tourism institutions, specialized bodies) in both countries and propose a common work to create a real certification tool, to be endorsed by all those institutions.

3.2 Quality Label

To guaranty the success of our promotional and commercialization efforts we think necessary to begin a process to also establish a "Quality of Service" Label that will ensure to users (visitors) that they will receive a quality controlled level of service, corresponding to what was "sold".

3.3 Ethic guide or code of practice

Redaction of an Ethic guide or code of practice to which KAD partners will have to sign and comply.

3.4 Caribbean Tourism Sustainability Certification, Consulting and Assistance Network

This is a project proposal that aims to:

  • create and/or reinforce and links between researchers and institutions that develop activities in this area
  • Extend the "Tourism Sustainability Certification" and "Service Quality Label" to a regional level
  • Propose consulting services for helping tourism initiatives to enhance their level of sustainability (social, cultural, environmental, economic, etc.)

  • create mechanism to make regional providers meet tourism project in need of solutions to their sustainability problematic

    important update on the project status
    en francais / french
    Attention: Lisez cet avis sur la situation actuelle du projet
    Importante aviso sobre la situación actual del proyecto

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    ©Fundación Taiguey
    (GECKO)  Jurgen Hoppe in Natural Parks of Dominican Republic
    Kiskeya  Alternativa
    Turismo sostenible y comercio electrónico, proyecto piloto de
    Fundación Taiguey, Inc.
    P.O.Box 109-Z Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana 
    Tel.: 1-809-537 89 77
    E-mail: --
    taptap haiti -  Yacine

    updated August 23 1999