We are very proud to have received a Green Tourism Silver grading award. The awards are acknowledged worldwide as an indicator of good environmentally-friendly-practice, and are a great way of progressing on a green journey as well as acting as a hallmark of ‘Green Quality’, attracting custom from increasing numbers of eco-minded visitors. Having accreditation and our good green practices verified by the Green Tourism team, shows our customers how committed we are in caring for our environment.
The quoted text to follow in bold is feedback we received from Green Tourism upon presentation of our award.
“Seabirds-and Seals have done an excellent job in achieving the Green Tourism Silver award following on from their first GreenCheck Assessment. They have displayed an excellent understanding of sustainability and awareness of opportunities and challenges associated with running a responsible business. They have scored well across the board but have excelled in the Awareness, Community, Experience, Destination, and Communication goals. The team at Seabirds-and-Seals have shown a commitment to continual improvement, a willingness to implement change where required and dedication in the pursuit of sustainable business practices”
Green Tourism assessed Seabirds-and-Seals against 15 sustainability criteria grouped under the pillars of People, Places and Planet. These consider the social, economic and environmental actions the business has undertaken, providing a holistic assessment of sustainability performance.
A Green Tourism Award means that a business works responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributes to their community, is reducing their impact on the environment and aims to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff. We have been working hard towards these goals, and hope in time to achieve ‘Gold’ as we continue on our green journey.
The Green Tourism scheme was established in 1997 and has been caring for people, places and the planet for more than 20 years. In Scotland the scheme was developed through a partnership between VisitScotland and Green Business UK. The scheme is a well-recognised award as well as being an important part of Scotland’s future towards a sustainable tourism destination. There are 2,300 members in the UK and Ireland and 850+ of these are in Scotland.
You can find out more about the Green Tourism Certification on VisitScotland’s website here.
Green Tourism have been so helpful throughout and at our 1st assessment they highlighted our areas of sustainability strength, those were as follows.
- Awareness – Excellent knowledge and awareness of all aspects of sustainability on show throughout.
- Community – Strong commitment to supporting vibrant local communities.
- Experiences – Good knowledge of local area and wildlife and how to enjoy it in a sustainable and responsible way.
- Destination – Excellent promotion of the heritage, events, and local projects in the destination area and how to enjoy it in a sustainable manner.
- Communication- Excellent example of how to put across your green story, initiatives, and projects that you have undertaken to your customers, suppliers, and the wider world.
Ever since the early days of Seabirds-and-Seals (The Noss Boat), we have been committed to operating our tours in a responsible manner. Our business is wildlife tourism and run by passionate nature-lovers for those with an appreciation of the natural world. We have a passion for conservation and the need to ensure the long-term protection of species and habitats.
We advocate working with local communities and leaving a positive impact on the destinations we visit and this has always been a fundamental part of our business.
One example of our close connection with local communities is our yearly collaboration with Shetland Carers, whereby we donate a few tours throughout our busy season which runs from April to October to their ‘Respitality Scheme’. Our donations have been greatly appreciated by ‘Shetland Carers’ – allowing a carer and companion to take a break from their caring routine which can certainly make a difference on how they feel. Many have often told us this has been the best break offered to them in the scheme as they love getting out in the water and connecting with nature. We work closely with the local community in many other aspects but just wanted to share this particular one for now. First photo shared below shows a family of 4 who joined up to the scheme last year, enjoying the refreshments stop which is offered on all our tours and all fairtrade products used. The second photo shows Amanda of Shetland Carers presenting us with our certificate of thanks for signing up to their fantastic scheme, more than welcome. Before the family shown in photo below disembarked, each child was delighted to receive a FREE Eco-Friendly pack, this is given to all young sailors that join our tours.
Our team are committed to reducing our impact on the planet and in times of covid we were faced with many challenges, but we faced the storm and with the restriction in 2020 stopping us from getting out on the water, it gave us time to reflect on our business voyage and our future goals. We have our own branding which was first started by Dr Jonathan Wills who established the business back in 1992. We took the time during covid to make further developments by opening our online shop to let the world see our Eco-Friendly branded merchandise as well as other products which make fabulous gift ideas. Below is just one example but you can find more by visiting our online shop here .
When covid restrictions eased in 2021 to allow us to operate again with the Scottish Government procedures in place, we went further and put other plans in place to move us in the right direction towards our Green Journey and always looking to improve our sustainable practices.
This year our business celebrates 31 years, a business our Skipper Brian who is also combined guide, has been actively involved in from the beginning and it continues to go from strength to strength, thank you Green Tourism for giving us this opportunity and a fabulous start to our 2023 Noss Boat Tours season.
We will continue to keep updating our Green Tourism assessment as we progress through our action plans we have in place through Green Tourism. We will also continue to keep updating our website blog which we will share with the team at ‘Green Tourism. We are always looking at ways to improve our commitment to caring for our environment and for our customers/staff.
We look forward to welcoming you onboard The Noss Boat ‘Seabird’.
From Marie, Brian and all the team at Seabirds-and-Seals