09. May 2023

Newly Trained Sustainable Tourism Auditors and Coaches Offer Expertise to Hoteliers in Central Asia

A group of dedicated professionals has successfully completed an intensive five-day course for Auditors of the Good Travel certification program, which included hands-on practice at hotels and guest houses. The training, conducted by the Good Travel Program representative Anula Galewska, provided these professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the sustainability certification in the tourism industry.

Yerkin Tikenov, Director of Insight Travel from Almaty, Kazakhstan, commented on the industry’s evolution, stating,

“We have now reached a point where the growing number of organizations signifies a shift towards a qualitative level. Instead of merely discussing sustainability, people are actively practicing it and seeking recognition through certification systems. These systems serve as marketing and reputation tools, demonstrating that organizations truly live up to their claims of sustainability.”

The course emphasized that sustainability is not merely a list of measures and requirements, but a continuous practice that must be followed. Participants were prepared to bring awareness to hoteliers through questioning, inspecting and advising on sustainability practices.

In 2020-2022, Greentour trained the hotels and guest houses in Bishkek, Naryn, Issyk Kul and Osh in sustainability management. Many of the trainees have already taken steps on integrating environmental, social and cultural sustainability practices at their hotels through a more responsible water and waste management, food waste reduction, engagement of the communities, and respect of the cultural aspects.

The newly trained coaches and auditors are now eager to offer their expertise and services to hoteliers in Central Asia who wish to explore sustainability and obtain the Good Travel certification. By participating in this process, hoteliers can gain a powerful marketing tool for the Western market and contribute to the global movement towards sustainable tourism.

Mikhail Shamshidov, a tourism development consultant from Uzbekistan, further highlighted the importance of sustainability, saying,

“Sustainability is not merely a contemporary trend; it is primarily a cost-effective approach that benefits the organization, local community, and environment while ultimately leading to satisfied tourists. Following this training, I have a strong intention to actively and rapidly advance this topic in Uzbekistan.”

The course was organized by the GreenTour project (funded by the European Union’s SWITCH-Asia program, implemented by Helvetas) and brought together professionals from various backgrounds from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, fostering collaboration and the sharing of best practices in sustainable tourism. Participants expressed gratitude for the excellent organization and hospitality provided by Helvetas Kyrgyzstan.

As sustainable tourism gains momentum, these newly trained experts encourage more frequent exchange of knowledge and experiences among industry professionals in Central Asia and beyond, creating new challenges and discoveries in sustainability, tourism, and more.