Certified Operator Program & Fee Change Survey

STAH hopes to develop a funding base from the Certification Program to support this program and HEA’s other educational activities. STAH has no paid staff to pursue grants and fundraising opportunities which we need to do. Currently HEA’s cost for certifying a tour operator is $750 while STAH charges only $200 for certification. Thus, the program is not sustainable.

STAH wants to provide our members, especially our certified operators, with more opportunities to benefit from the Certification Program, including providing opportunities for professional development. This will increase the Program’s value, while also attracting more members and more funders.

STAH has a new partnership with Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) which supported a significant expansion in the Certification Program and the new STAH website over the past year. HTA also agreed to feature STAH Certified tour operators on the new GoHawaii website to greatly increase their visibility. HTA wants to continue this partnership.

To reduce “greenwashing” and ensure that businesses, visitors and residents support certified tour operators that are using the very best practices, we want to tighten certification standards. WE need your feedback in order to increase the value of HEA’s Certification Program.

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7. Should STAH change standards of the certification in any of the following ways;

a. Move to a more complete point based system with a minimum point requirement.

b. Develop ranges in the points system to support different levels of certification

8. Should re-certification costs be decreased by implementing the following plan:  

  • Tour operation submits an updated checklist
  • Program manager reviews an updated checklist over the phone with the management of the tour organization.
  • Program manager reviews notes form previous certification documents and verifies if recommended actions have been taken.
  • The tour operation provides tours for 2 secret shoppers that will verify the checklist claims.
  • Secret shoppers are briefed on what to look for based upon the checklist and past recommendations & will fill in a questionnaire from STAH after their tour.

Sustainable Tourism Association

PO Box 491
Kahului, HI 96733