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News & Announcements

Ecuador Adopts National Sustainability Standards for Tourism

5 May 2015 – Quito, Ecuador. The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have partnered to create standards for sustainability in the travel and tourism sector throughout Ecuador. The GSTC has conferred it’s mark of “Recognition” that Ecuador’s sustainability standards adhere to the universal standards that the GSTC has developed for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The move was announced in Quito by Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo during the International Ecotourism Society’s annual Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference. GSTC Chair of the Board Luigi Cabrini presented to Minister Naranjo a plaque celebrating the accomplishment of the Ministry and the nation.

“GSTC applauds the nation of Ecuador and its Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo for taking this important step. GSTC Recognition does not mean that sustainability has been achieved, but that the standards used to measure progress toward sustainability include the 41 GSTC Criteria. Creating such a framework is an important step in working toward sustainability at the destination and national level” said Randy Durband, CEO of the GSTC.

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Latin America Regional Meeting brings success for GSTC

April 30, 2015 - The GSTC Latin America Regional Meeting took place April 26th with great success. The gathering gave 75 travel and tourism professionals from over 12 countries a foundational list of tools, contacts, and references to improve overall sustainability of their operations. Structured in part like a workshop, presentations and round-table discussions centered on sustainable tourism standards, destination management, industry best practices, and the GSTC Destinations Program. The Latin America Regional Meeting was held in cooperation with The International Ecotourism Society's- Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC15), and took place the day prior to the start of the conference.


The successful and dynamic meeting brought together well known leaders in sustainable tourism to develop strategies for how to apply the GSTC Criteria and programs to enhance sustainability in Latin America. CEO of GSTC, Randy Durband proudly said, "Participants at our Latin America Regional Meeting in Quito were very engaged in the discussions and showed a true passion for sustainability. Some were learning about GSTC for the first time and were interested in learning about sustainability standards and how to use them. I think they learned a lot, and they shared many good ideas for future actions with each other."

An interactive session during the workshop pulled together an actionable list of suggestions from the participants. That includes suggestions for GSTC itself to act upon and for the various participants to use in their own regions and countries.

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GREAT Green Deal Accomplishes GSTC Recognized Certification Status

April 14, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the GREAT Green Deal Sustainable Certification Program has achieved ‘GSTC Recognized’ status. The awarded status affirms GREAT Green Deal’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services

The GREAT Green Deal Sustainable Certification Program (GGD) represents a way of doing business while taking care of all stakeholders involved in the tourism operations. The GGD standard has more than 400 indicators that provide hotel and tour operators (lodging facilities, hotels, tour operators and rental car companies) a map that takes executives and entrepreneurs on a path to be more successful in their business while being responsible with employees and their families, the community, the cultural heritage and traditions including the environment. For the GGD Program it’s important that businesses are profitable and jointly all stakeholders feel valued, cared for and supported. Currently, 10 hotels and 1 rental car company located in the main touristic destinations of Guatemala and Central America are GGD certified in sustainability.

Logo GGD no sello 2

“The GSTC Recognition of our Standard is a confirmation that we are fully committed to sustainability and the international criteria. It gives full trust to the certified companies and others, mainly tourism companies in Latin America that GGD is following the actual market trends in order to provide companies a secure path to internationalization with a trustable and transparent image”, expressed Carmen Pérez, Executive Director, GGD. “We expect that this recognition of our standard invites tourism entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and and Latin America to decide soon on following global steps through reaching a certification as the one GGD offers in order to fulfill what international markets are looking for every time in a stronger way.”

GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel in order to be deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to recognize and reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

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GSTC Announces Assessments for Destinations through New Destinations Program

 April 8, 2015- The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the recent launch of the GSTC Destinations Program. For all destinations, even those with no previous experience with sustainability, the GSTC Destinations Program offers valuable engagement with a GSTC destination expert providing custom guidance on the world’s leading destination sustainability standard: the GSTC Criteria for Destinations. The Destinations Program offers 2 key resources for destinations: Destination Assessments and Destination Sustainability Training.

“For the first time, the GSTC is offering destinations direct guidance from a GSTC expert onsite,” said Kathleen Pessolano, Director of the GSTC’s new Destinations Program. “We work directly with destination stakeholders to apply the GSTC Criteria, to highlight areas of good practice and identify risks that jeopardize destination resources and may concern potential investors.”

The GSTC Destination Assessment onsite process allows a destination to participate directly in GSTC application of the Criteria to the destination, to understand the destination’s sustainability status against the world’s leading standard, and to identify areas for improvement based on the GSTC Criteria. Two types of Destination Assessments are offered: 1) a 3-day Snapshot Assessment, or 2) a 10-day Comprehensive Assessment.

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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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