GSTC Overview

Welcome To Sustainable Tourism

“Promoting the widespread adoption of global sustainable tourism standards to ensure the tourism industry continues to drive conservation and poverty alleviation”

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) serves as the international body for establishing and managing standards for sustainable tourism.  All of our programs and activities work toward this central mission.  GSTC is mostly a volunteer organization, consisting of experts in sustainable tourism and supported by organizations and individuals with a passion for ensuring that meaningful standards are available globally for sustainability in travel and tourism. Those volunteers are organized in working groups which you can learn about in the GSTC Objectives section of this website. Financial support from donations, sponsorship, and membership fees are critical to our own sustainability.

At the heart of this work are the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and the development of the GSTC Criteria for Destinations. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.  Sustainability is imperative for all tourism stakeholders and must translate from words to actions.

Under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN) and currently active in all UNWTO regions, the GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards,  tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

As the tourism industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, its multifaceted relationship with the environment and host communities is becoming increasingly evident.  Although consumer awareness is rising, there is a lack of understanding of what sustainable tourism means. The GSTC brings clarity to the ambiguity surrounding the potential threats that tourism can have on the environment, culture and residents of tourist destinations, as well as exploring and encouraging the many opportunities to have a positive impact, by addressing issues like poverty alleviation and cultural and natural preservation.

Be Part of Change:  Become a member of GSTC and help drive the sustainable tourism agenda.

Get Engaged: Whether you are a certification, a business, a university or another actor, there are steps you can take towards    achieving and promoting sustainable tourism. 

GSTC News:  Learn what is happening today at GSTC, as we continually developing ideas and strategies to meet the demands and momentum of this rapidly growing movement.

Subscribe to our newsletter: Enjoy our monthly recap of news and announcements.

Share your views: Find us on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn

Become A Member
Anyone from individuals to larger organizations can help increase the reach, awareness and recognition of sustainable tourism practices.  
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