News & Announcements

Accreditation Program Launched

The GSTC's program to recognize standards and certification programs is now open for select participants. Read More.

GSTC Criteria Consultation Underway

The required bi-yearly review of the GSTC Criteria has begun, but there is still time to provide your feedback. Read More.

Responsible Travel

 

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 LEADING THE WAY

Members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council are shining examples of what it means to support "responsible travel".  Here are some examples of what GSTC  Members are doing to promote sustainable travel worldwide:

 

TIPS FOR TRAVELING RESPONSIBLY

See below for tips on how to travel responsibly, or click to here to download "The Responsible Tourist", a more thorough guide on how to travel responsibly.

 

BEFORE TRAVELING

  • Find out as much as possible. The more you know about a World Heritage site before arriving, the more the site will come alive. Look into the site’s history, culture, natural environment, customs, legends, advisory notices and more. UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is a great starting point. http://whc.unesco.org
  • Learn a few words in the local language. Making an effort to speak the local language allows you to interact with the people who know the site best. People appreciate your efforts and your interest in learning. Simple words like “Hello,”“Please” and “Thank you” can go a long way.
  • Pack light. It is tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but remember to be smart about your necessities. Packaging items like the paper box to your film or the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush simply consume space in your bag and can create excess trash for the World Heritage site.
  • Lodging choices. Look for hotels that have a written policy covering their environmental impact, employment and cultural policy.
  • Explore transportation options. Remember that traveling affects the environment. Wherever possible, try to minimize your pollution and impact on the environment by looking to alternative transportation and off-setting your carbon emissions.

 

WHILE TRAVELING

  • Engage in local culture. The saying, “While in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Remember that eating local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part of experiencing the culture.
  • Buy local products and services. Choosing to support locally owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.
  • Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining so if you’re not sure, ask your local hotel for tips. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar or if it could impact the vendor more.
  • Hire local guides. Enrich your experience by choosing local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. Ask local tour operators and hotels for good recommendations.
  • Tread lightly. Destinations are exceptional due to their natural or cultural splendor. Do your part to keep them that way by following designated trails, respecting caretakers, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures from sites.
  • Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even though you are just visiting and not paying the utility bill, disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your consumption of water and energy will benefit the overall destination.

 

AFTER TRAVELING

  • Distribute your responsible travel tips. In addition to telling family and friends about the wonderful memories you made, also consider sharing tips on how they too can positively impact the World while having an amazing journey.
  • Share your photos. Pictures can say a thousand words.
  • Explore more. Traveling is just the start of learning. Once you return home continue exploring and being involved with the issues or region that captured your attention. Build upon your knowledge and also learn about another fascinating place.
  • Give back. Traveling often opens your eyes and heart to something new. You can continue to preserve our inspirational World Heritage sites for generations to come by making a donation to a local charity.

Fairmont Mayakoba

he Fairmont Mayakoba, on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, is a tourist destination nestled in the heart of Riviera Maya. The hotel offers spectacular views of canals, lagoons, and mangrove forests, and also offers close access to Cozumel, Chichén Itzá, and beautiful beaches.

IMG_0348But being a beautiful resort and a tourist destination was not enough for this hotel—they also wanted to be one of the most sustainable eco-tourist destinations in Mexico. Working with the GSTC, the Fairmont Mayakoba has been able to make great strides toward being fully sustainable, while also protecting the surrounding habitat, along with its flora and fauna.

Fairmont Mayakoba has a genuine commitment to continuous improvement on their social, environmental and cultural performance, including active approval and continued commitment at the management level. The criteria have been an instrumental tool in steering management to implement a sustainability program.

“One of the best things about joining the GSTC was how easy it was for our hotel’s management to implement a sustainability program and measure progress toward our overall goals,” said Lyn Santos, Ecology Manager at the Fairmont Mayakoba. “The GSTC also provided us with opportunities to get the word out about our sustainability programs, and gave our program legitimacy, to avoid the stigma of greenwashing.”

The Fairmont Mayakoba has sought to preserve the heritage of the ancient surroundings, which included tree relocation as well as the safe relocation of more than 40 species of animals. Inside the hotel, there has been significant progress on grounds naturalization, waste management reduction, natural resources preservation, and sustainable food service.

“Being involved with the GSTC will allow our hotel to continue to be recognized as one of the most sustainable eco-tourism destinations in the world,” said Santos. “Companies in the tourism industry should take advantage of this resource that not only builds recognition in the industry, but also helps the company save money and increase overall revenue.”
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