THE Federation of Tour Operators is developing an industry-wide system to rate how hotels and suppliers treat the environment and staff.

It has produced a set of guidelines in a sustainable tourism handbook, drawn up with tour operators, trade and hotel associations, researchers and lobby groups such as Tourism Concern. It has already been translated into six languages.

Members wrote to suppliers earlier in the year to request they participate, and FTO responsible tourism manager Chris Thompson expects details from 500 to 1,000 properties to launch the system by the end of this month.

He said: “The aim is to make the policies come to life. We’re not saying they have to follow the guidelines, but we think everybody should.

“In the first instance, we’re asking suppliers to check themselves against the guidelines. The next step will be to see how they compare, and to come up with an award.”

Thompson believes a tiered system of awards, with third-party verification of the highest level, could be in place to rate properties for late editions of summer 2008 brochures.