Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria

Hikers enjoying scenery on Routeburn Track

The Sustainable Tourism Business criteria is your pathway to Qualmark accreditation, which travellers here and overseas rely on when making plans. One comprehensive evaluation by one of our friendly Qualmark Specialists every 12 months, is all it takes.

Businesses are awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold when evaluated against the Sustainable Tourism Business criteria. There’s also a star rating for accommodation providers, based on the quality of facilities and services.

We recognise that each business is unique in size, capability and resource. Our Qualmark Specialists conduct each evaluation using the Sustainable Tourism Business criteria with this in mind.

Our criteria has also become the first in New Zealand to gain official recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), meaning members can be confident that achieving Qualmark certification meets global standards of sustainability.

Three levels of success

Bronze Sustainable Tourism Business Award icon


Qualmark Bronze Accreditation

A Bronze business must meet all Qualmark’s expected standards in the Sustainable Tourism Business criteria. It identifies a business with high professionalism, an awareness of its impact on the environment and a customer-centric approach.

Silver Sustainable Tourism Business Award icon


Qualmark Silver Accreditation

A Silver business is a sophisticated tourism business that consistently exceeds visitor expectations. Proactive leadership and management ensure a high-performance culture is evident throughout the business. The business will continuously improve its economic, social and environmental performance to ensure the tourism product they deliver is a genuine, sustainable experience.

Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award icon


Qualmark Gold Accreditation

A Gold business is a best-in-class sustainable tourism business in New Zealand, delivering exceptional customer experiences, an integral part of everything they do. A Gold Sustainable Tourism Accreditation identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world-class sustainable visitor destination.

Star Rating

We use a star rating system for accommodation providers only, based on the quality level of facilities and services provided. The result will be a rating from one to five stars.

Before, during, after evaluation

Before evaluation

A Qualmark Specialist calls to talk through what will happen on the day, and what you need to do to prepare. We recommend that you have any documents that explain your policies and procedures ready to go.

During evaluation

That same Qualmark Specialist conducts an onsite evaluation. There’s no fixed checklist of things that must be done, and no one-size-fits-all approach. 

After evaluation

Your Qualmark Specialist creates a report with their findings and formulates an action plan of ideas and opportunities to take your business to the next level.

Five areas of focus

The Sustainable Tourism Business criteria covers five key areas, which altogether can seem overwhelming! But it’s not really - we don’t expect you to have a marketing or HR department for all this. In many cases, existing industry certifications will be enough to answer criteria.

Rugged mountain range with clouds

Take your tourism business to the next level

Get Started