“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 (known as the GSTC or the Council) serves as the international body for establishing and managing standards for sustainable tourism. All of our programs and activities work toward this central mission. The GSTC is independent and neutral, serving the important role of managing its global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. It 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. Financial support from donations, sponsorship, and membership fees are critical to our own sustainability.
At the heart of this work are the Global Sutainable Tourism Council's Sustainability Criteria. There are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria (GSTC-D) and Hotel & Tour Operator Criteria (GSTC-H&TO). 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.
(June 15, 2015) Longtime Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) supporter UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai recently endorsed the GSTC reinforcing the necessity and value of the sustainable tourism criteria in global tourism. As the global agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, UNWTO’s endorsement of the GSTC and the criteria symbolizes a future for tourism that can drive conservation and poverty alleviation while continuing economic development.
“Sustainability is at the core of UNWTO’s work. We recognize that achieving sustainability requires knowledge of many elements among national and destination level stakeholders, that’s why the UNWTO fully endorses the work of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and its criteria. The Criteria provides an essential framework for identifying what must be done to be sustainable. They were developed following international best practices and with wide public consultations and the result is globally relevant and a globally applicable set of guidelines.” - UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
May 28, 2015 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that The Long Run’s Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) Hotels and Tour Operators Standards program has achieved ‘GSTC Recognized’ status. The awarded status affirms The Long Run’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.
The Long Run was conceived as the international program of the Zeitz Foundation, with a mission “To create and support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve long-lasting impact and sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4Cs) in privately managed areas”.
The Long Run is built around the Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) standard which has been referred to as “the world’s best standards for private protected areas” (Dr. Jeff A. Langholz). The GER® recognizes outstanding work in sustainability by private nature-based tourism businesses and goes beyond requiring destinations to mitigate their negative impacts by expecting significant positive impacts on biodiversity, the well-being of communities and cultural stewardship. Commercial sustainability is regarded as vital to achieving such impacts. (www.TheLongRun.com)
(May 27, 2015) In a collaboration between the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) a six day GSTC Sustainability Training Course concluded this past Sunday in Kasane, Botswana.
The GSTC Sustainability Training Course had 20 participants from the BTO including Auditors of the Botswana Ecotourism Certification System, and key managers for Botswana’s tourism development and sustainable management of tourism destinations. Training was held on the Chobe River and involved classroom studies reviewing the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria. Field work was undertaken to give a practical application of the GSTC Criteria, including a Chobe River game boat tour and visits to Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe Marina Lodge and Bakwena lodge.
Guy Chester, GSTC’s Technical Director and Lead trainer said, “The BTO Trainees obviously had a good grasp of sustainability for the tourism sector and the training was a pleasure. Trainees engaged in informed debates of what best practices can apply in Botswana for its already leading ecotourism industry, and discussed practical cost effective sustainability measures for the more traditional existing hotels and lodges.”
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.
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."