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News & Announcements

GSTC Integrity Program: Guiding the Standards of Sustainability

okavango guidingSustainable tourism certification programs have increasingly become an important strategy for encouraging the sustainable production of travel & tourism goods and services. However, the overwhelming number of existing sustainable tourism certification programs create both market and consumer confusion regarding what is to be expected from a sustainable tourism product or experience. Since 2008, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is addressing these issues with the creation of the world's most widely accepted sustainable tourism standards.

The GSTC Criteria, a globally recognized set of sustainable tourism standards for Hotels, Tour Operators and Destinations, help build consumer confidence, promote efficiency, and fight false claims. Through the application of the GSTC Criteria, certification programs are increasingly using the GSTC Integrity Program to ensure that their standards meet or exceed these sustainable tourism baseline standards. The GSTC Integrity Program is a step-wise process for certification programs to complete GSTC Recognition, Approval and Accreditation of their sustainable tourism standards.

GSTC Integrity Program
Recognition, Approval and Accreditation of Sustainable Tourism Standards

The GSTC Integrity Program is a step-wise process created to ensure that sustainable tourism standards and certification programs meet or exceed the global baseline standards of sustainability. At the heart of this, the GSTC strives to uphold and improve the quality of sustainable tourism standards that are implemented around the globe.

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EarthCheck Achieves GSTC Recognition for Destination Certification


March 17, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that EarthCheck has achieved ‘GSTC Recognized’ status for their Destination Certification. The awarded status affirms EarthCheck’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services worldwide.

EarthCheck is an international environmental management and professional services group, which was established in 1987. EarthCheck products and services are used by all sectors of the travel and tourism industry across the world to guide their broader sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives. This includes guidance and advice on the design, construction and operation of tourism infrastructure. EarthCheck has access to world leading research, science and technology, providing a strong foundation to address the economic, social and environmental sustainability challenges facing the planet. Over the past 25 years, EarthCheck has delivered tailor-made and market-driven tourism solutions to destination, government, business and community clients. www.earthcheck.org

“EarthCheck has been working with leading destinations of the world for over fifteen years. GSTC recognition acknowledges the important work that EarthCheck is doing to help destinations deliver sustainable outcomes,” commented Stewart Moore, CEO and founder of EarthCheck.

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GSTC members EarthCheck and IHG extend partnership

IHG EarthCheckThe Global Sustainable Tourism Council welcomes the news that longtime member and GSTC-Recognized standard EarthCheck has renewed its partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), GSTC’s newest sponsor. This collaboration will support IHG hotels in furthering their sustainability pathway by working towards sustainable tourism certification through EarthCheck’s GSTC-Recognized standards program.

Last year IHG announced that its IHG Green Engage™ system, a point-based metric program similar to LEED, would be rolled out across the company’s global estate of over 4,800 hotels from 1 January 2015. Properties that wish to move beyond internal recognition and earn independent third party certification will now have the option of seamlessly and cost-effectively gaining EarthCheck Certification.

Stewart Moore, CEO of EarthCheck, congratulated IHG on its commitment to sustainability and the group’s achievements.

"IHG is one of EarthCheck’s standout sustainability heroes in the Asian region. We are proud to extend our partnership and have more of their properties certified. Our aim is to provide IHG hotels with quantifiable metrics to address their risks, deliver bottom line efficiencies, maximize guest experiences and minimize their environmental footprint.”

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Green Growth 2050 Achieves GSTC-Recognized Status

GreenGrowthFebruary 25, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that GreenEarth.travel and VisionCSR's Green Growth 2050 sustainable tourism certification program has achieved 'GSTC Recognized' status. The awarded status affirms Green Growth's commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.

Green Growth 2050 has been developed to meet the needs of tourism and travel businesses seeking today's solutions to the issues driving social, cultural and environmental change. It is designed to allow organizations to not only undertake certification through third-party assessment, but also accurately measure their global impact across a framework of over 200 CSR and sustainability related metrics. The addition of business intelligence and analytics provides Green Growth 2050 customers with new insights into their organization on both an individual basis and across their entire portfolio.

"When we developed our certification standard one of our primary goals was to identify and align our program with globally respected International Conventions such as GSTC and the UN Global Compact. Green Growth 2050 is a proud member of the GSTC and we support their mission of making all tourism more sustainable by increasing the reach of sustainable tourism practices to traditional, small, and large-scale operations," said Green Growth 2050's CEO, Wayne McKinnon.

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First GSTC-Approved Destination Certification, Biosphere Responsible Tourism

BiosphereFebruary 12, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the Responsible Tourism Institute (ITR) Biosphere Responsible Tourism destination certification program has achieved 'GSTC Approved' status. The Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification program is now the first to achieve GSTC Approval for both Hotel & Tour Operator and Destination certification standards. This outstanding accomplishment exemplifies ITR's commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.

ITR created and developed the Biosphere Responsible Tourism Program, which is acknowledged by the BIOSPHERE certification to regulate the sustainable behavior within the international tourism industry. BIOSPHERE is an international and voluntary certification based on the principles of sustainable development. This label is granted to establishments in different countries around the world. Currently, BIOSPHERE is present in destinations, hotels, restaurants, zoos, active recreation centers, museum and golf courses in several European, Latin American and African countries, among which include the following: Spain, UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Chile, Mexico and Sao Tome and Principe.

"This dual approval has a triple meaning for ITR; Firstly, this approval represents recognition by the highest and most prestigious international institution of our work in favor or responsible tourism, factor and harmonic engine of social and economic development; secondly, it serves us as a powerful stimulus to continue and improve our mission; and finally, let it be said, feeling of pride that always feel the first to reach the goal. For those who have trusted our certification also represents a guarantee of your success in choosing our certifications, as well as, a sense of satisfaction because they and their clients, apart from achieving their goals, are aware that actively support a process of sustainable development" said Juan Antonio Menéndez-Pidal, ITR's Vice President of International Relationships.

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