Ontario’s Southwest (RTO1) Awarded GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – ONTARIO, CANADA — Today, after a nine month process, Ontario’s Southwest Region Tourism Organization announced they have been 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. The Standard has been formally recognized as meeting the criteria for sustainable destination management by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and is in alignment with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“On behalf of TIAO, we would like to congratulate Ontario’s Southwest on achieving regional certification through the Advancing Sustainable Tourism in Ontario project. Ontario’s Southwest has collectively always been a region to watch, for leading by example. The purposeful choice of encouraging the priority of inclusivity, community engagement and sustainability throughout the region, shows the strength in leadership within Ontario. 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. Ontario’s Southwest has been awarded a bronze level grading and has achieved the GreenStep Destination Certification designation.  

Aileen Murray, Board Chair of Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization, says, “Tourism is big business across Ontario’s Southwest and we believe that focusing on sustainable tourism is an investment in the visitor economy and our shared future. This designation is an important milestone in our commitment to a sustainable tourism industry in our region.”

“Tourism stakeholders across the region are doing important work to make Ontario’s Southwest a more sustainable travel destination, and we’re thrilled that work is being recognized by GreenStep through this designation.  As a regional tourism organization, it’s our priority that the visitor economy is benefiting local communities, and not at the expense of local communities or the environment.” adds Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director of Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization.

We offer our congratulations to Ontario’s Southwest on this achievement, by measuring the sustainability performance of their region against 117 criteria, and having their results verified by a GreenStep assessor. The process resulted in a detailed action plan, to support the sustainable development of the tourism industry throughout their region in the coming years. We look forward to seeing their progress as they align with other regions, throughout Ontario, in support of a greater provincial initiative.” Jenn Burling, Director of Sustainable Tourism

About GreenStep:
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 are relevant to all tourism businesses and destinations. For more information, visit www.greensteptourism.com

About Ontario’s Southwest (OSW):
Ontario’s Southwest (OSW) is a Regional Tourism Organization, funded through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and is governed by an industry-led Board of Directors from across the region. OSW works collaboratively with tourism stakeholders to uphold OSW’s vision to be a year-round destination that offers highly sought experiences for visitors and residents, while working towards the mission of creating a “vibrant and inclusive tourism sector that balances the needs of our visitors, tourism partners, communities, and environment”.

Contact GreenStep Solutions
Angela Nagy, President/CEO
GreenStep Solutions Inc.

Contact Ontario’s Southwest
Jen Moore, Marketing & Communications Manager
Ontario’s Southwest