Vinsamlegast notið þetta auðkenni þegar þið vitnið til verksins eða tengið í það: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/39878
The rapid growth of tourism certifications has developed many certification programs and a full range of certified services. Compliance with quality and environmental criteria of certification programs and obtaining a recognizable label is beneficial for tourism companies in various aspects. Still, there seem to be numerous obstacles faced by certified companies in the certification process. This study focused on the quality and environmental certification for Icelandic tourism - Vakinn. The main research objective is to examine how certified companies are experiencing the benefits and obstacles of implementing and maintaining Vakinn. Eight interviews were conducted with representatives of the tourism companies certified according to Vakinn’s criteria. The identified benefits and obstacles of Vakinn were discussed with two representativesfrom the certifying body, the Icelandic Tourism Board. The data was analyzed through thematic analysis and resulted in seven themes: motivational reasons to join Vakinn, the role of the quality criteria, environmental impact, marketing, monitoring and evaluation, enhanced community connections, and business aims. The identified areas to be improved in the future were categorized into three themes: recognizability, monitoring and evaluation, and communication. This study adds relevant insights to the academic literature about the experience of the tourism companies that comply with Vakinn’s criteria. The results add to the growing body of research that explores the benefits and obstacles of tourism certifications. Also, the study discusses how the certifying body can improve the effectiveness of Vakinn in the future.