The certification process includes nine (9) steps:
Step 1: Self-evaluation procedure
Those tourism suppliers that would like to be certified must first complete a self-evaluation form, available free of charge on the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) website or it can be mailed following a request to the BTO Quality Services Department.
The self-evaluation form allows the applicant to understand if their tourism product meets the desired level to be certified. After self-assessment, the tourism supplier can proceed to Step 2 or to take additional time to improve the business operations before submitting the certification application.
Step 2: Application for Green, Green+ or Ecotourism Certification
After the self-evaluation is completed and the tourism supplier has decided to proceed with certification, an official request must be submitted to the BTO Quality Services Department. The request must be posted to the regional BTO office and include the following documents - available for download from the BTO website, or mailed on request to the BTO Quality Services Department:
- Application form;
- Self-evaluation form, including compliance with all relevant legislation;
- The required documentation to be reviewed by BTO prior to the site evaluation (see list detailing documents in the application form), or detailing what is available for inspection on site
Step 3: Eco-tourism assessors’ selection and scheduling
BTO records all the requests and starts the internal process by appointing an assessor and arranging for an on-site evaluation. Site visits are made when the applicant has clients on-premises in order to adequately assess the quality of the tourism product.
Step 4: On-site evaluation
The onsite evaluation will be performed by BTO-appointed assessors. Depending upon the size of the operation and tourism activities conducted, the evaluation will take place over the course of a full-day or may require more than a full day. Assessor(s) will complete the evaluation form based, which includes the following components:
- Objective observations;
- Discussions with clients; and
- Discussions with staff.
The BTO assessor will collect the following materials:
- Tour evaluation forms completed by clients;
- Additional lists with comments and recommendations;
- Promotion materials provided by the tourism supplier; and
- Photographs taken during the site/tour evaluation.
Step 5: Certification decision by the Quality Services Committee
The Quality Services Committee will be provided with all completed documentation and supporting information gathered by the assessors. They will analyse all the information provided and decide if certification will be awarded. Their decision will also include the level of certification. Where necessary a list of additional recommendations may also be included.
Quality Service Committee Meetings are held at minimum twice annually, and certification is awarded for two-year periods. The applicant must apply for a renewal of their certification midway through year two with a formal request sent to the BTO.
Step 6: Presentation of Certificates
Based on the recommendation of the Quality Services Committee, BTO issues the award to the applicant. The award is presented as a certificate with the signature of the BTO Chief Executive Officer, and the validity period, along with the right to use the Green, Green+ or Ecotourism logo – as designated.
Step 7: Appeals procedure
If the evaluated operator does not agree with the grade awarded, they can request a re-evaluation. This process starts again at Step 3.
Step 8: Re-evaluation and renewal
During the last year of the certification, the awarded operation must re-launch the evaluation process, including Steps 1 to 6. No extension of use of the certification logo will be authorised after the expiry date. Therefore, the renewal and re-evaluation process must start at least six months prior to the expiry date.
Step 9: Periodic monitoring
During the award period, the certified operation will be monitored to ensure that the operation complies with stipulated requirements. Following successful certification, a certified operation will be permitted to use the designated logo, granted for the duration of the certification.