Accreditation Panel Members

About the Accreditation Panel

The GSTC Accreditation Panel seeks to recognize standards and certification programs that are credible, transparent, impartial, and comply with the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. The GSTC Accreditation Panel provides an impartial and independent voice for the GSTC Process relating to the GSTC Integrity Program and operates independently of the GSTC Board and executive staff. Current members of the Accreditation Panel are listed below.  The GSTC Accreditation Panel members have been selected and appointed on the basis of specific qualifications and experience requirements (see Qualifications).

Cathy Parsons

Chair, Accreditation Panel  

Cathy is currently a consultant on urban planning issues in Australia and has been chair of the Accreditation Panel since October 2010. She has been actively involved in the evolution to the present day of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. From 2001 to 2006, Cathy was the Executive Director and then CEO of the worldwide tourism certification program, Green Globe. She was responsible for all aspects of delivering the program to tourism operations in over 50 countries with the objective of achieving a more sustainable tourism industry. During her time in the mid-90ss as a senior executive with the Australian Government’s Department of Tourism, she managed the government’s environmental tourism programs. She assisted industry to develop the world’s first ecotourism certification program as well as several other tourism certification programs for different industry sectors.

Loreto Duffy Mayers

Loreto_photo.jpgLoreto is currently the Project Manager for the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action (CHENACT) Programme. This IDB and CDE funded project is designed to improve the competitiveness of small to medium sized hotels (<400 rooms) in the Caribbean through greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy and micro-generation. Phase 1 of the project ended in March 2012. The CHENACT Advanced Programme was launched in July 2012. Loreto was born in Dublin, Ireland and moved to Barbados in 1985. She was educated at University College Dublin and UK Institute of Marketing. She has held the position of Environmental Manager in several green hotels, including Coconut Court Resort, Casuarina Beach Club and the Almond Resorts (3 hotels in Barbados and 2 in St. Lucia). Loreto has received many personal awards for her contribution the promotion of sustainable tourism, including: Barbados Youth Environmental Programme award for contribution to the Environment; Barbados Governor General’s Award for contribution to Green Tourism; Global Green Globe Champion; EAST Award of Excellence; Barbados Minister of Environment Award and BHTA Environmental Award.

David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez


David is General Director and Co-Founder of “KAI Sustainable Coaching”, a company based in México, created to assist tourism businesses in Latin America to integrate Sustainability into their Management Systems and use it as a key element to optimize the use of its resources and its competitiveness on the market. David`s experience on Sustainability   include his work as Sustainable Development Corporate Coordinator at El Dorado Spa Hotels & Resorts and Azul Hotels at Mayan Riviera, the Implementation of a Corporate Sustainable Management Systems combining criteria of Green Globe, Travelife and MARTI (Meso-American Reef Tourism Initiative) programs, as well as the coordination of Strategic alliances to develop Corporate Social Responsibility programs and Natural Resources Conservation initiatives in Colombia and México. His work on Tourism Sustainability has been enriched by his previous experience in other sectors coordinating the Rainforest Alliance Certification program and Nespresso verification in México, and developing integrated Systems to measure Sustainability through the optimization of resource management. David holds a Master on Leadership & Environmental Management from the UCI Costa Rica and an International Master in Local/Rural Development from the Polytechnic University of Madrid.

Geoff Penrose

Geoff established in 2010 as an international consultancy that improves the quality, safety, authenticity and sustainability of the tourism experience. Geoff was the CEO of Qualmark New Zealand from 2004 to 2009, an organisation that developed and assessed the quality standards for all types of tourism businesses including hotel chains, luxury boutique resorts, land and sea adventure activities and cultural tourist attractions. Geoff was responsible for introducing an integrated quality and environmental star rating system in 2008. Geoff works with tourism companies, governments and donor agencies across Europe, Asia and the Pacific to improve tourism standards and is a part time lecturer in tourism.

Mike Read

Mike established Mike Read Associates (MRA) as an international consultancy in 1987. Mike's work has spanned responsible tourism, water efficiency, wildlife conservation, climate change, and waste prevention. Through the 1990s he was also closely involved in developing the FSC. Mike took a two-year break from consultancy in 2009 to take on the new role of Head of Programmes for the Travel Foundation. He continues to work as a consultant for TF, and manages TF's agricultural links project in Turkey. He sits on the Travelife Strategy Group, and GSTC's Accreditation Panel. In addition to his understanding of sustainability and social justice issues, he has knowledge of the UK outbound tourist industry, has expertise in developing small businesses. Mike studied botany, and subsequently environmental technology, at the University of London. He has worked for Defra, the Environment Agency, B&Q, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Eden Project among many other clients.

Alice Crabtree

Alice CrabtreeAlice currently works as the Ecotourism Development Manager for Conservation Volunteers/Australian Nature Tours. Born in the UK, raised in Thailand and Ethiopia and now a new Australian she has an eclectic background. Her first degree is in Zoology (University of Liverpool), followed by a PhD on population dynamics of an aquatic insect (University College of Wales, Aberystwyth). Alice has worked extensively around the world on sustainable tourism standards including Vietnam (Flora Fauna International), China (WWF panda reserves, pilot of Green Globe IES and development of Community Based Tourism in Sichuan Province) and the Philippines (development of an Ecotourism Strategy for Department of Tourism). She was one of the founders of Ecotourism Australia and co-authored the world’s first ecotourism certification program as well as an EcoGuide program. Alice has worked extensively with development of standards, administration, training and auditing of sustainable tourism certification programs around the world, including  Australia’s ECO Certification program, Respect Our Culture (Australian indigenous tourism) and Green Globe 21’s (International Ecotourism Standard).

Richard Denman

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Richard is Director of The Tourism Company, a small specialist tourism consultancy based on the UK. Following a degree in Economics from Cambridge University and a doctorate based on tourism research, Richard worked for ten years as development and marketing director for the tourist board in central England.  He has been a consultant since 1990 and has worked in over fifty countries. In 2005 he wrote the policy guide Making Tourism More Sustainable for UNEP and UNWTO, and has continued to work with them and a number of international agencies on sustainability issues, including the preparation of various good practice guides. Richard has worked at a local level with many destinations round the world and has a particular interest in tourism in protected areas.  In 2009/10 he undertook the initial work on developing the accreditation process for the predecessor body to the GSTC. Richard is a former Board Director of The International Ecotourism Society and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Travel Foundation.

Anna Spenceley

AnnaSpenceley smallDr. Anna Spenceley is an independent consultant based in South Africa. She works on sustainable tourism issues for a wide range of international agencies, including the World Bank group, the International Trade Centre, UNWTO, UNEP, UNDP and SNV. Anna’s work includes participatory policy and master plan development, triple bottom line assessments (economic, social, and environmental), tourism certification and indicators, market research, value chain analyses and also training. Anna is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group), and leads capacity building for the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Sustainable Tourism Forum. Anna is on the editorial boards of the International Journal for Sustainable Tourism and Koedoe. Her book publications include "Tourism and Poverty Reduction", "Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for Conservation and Development" and "Evolution and Innovation in Wildlife Conservation. Anna was a founding board member of the GSTC, and currently sits on the GSTC Destination Working Group and acts as GSTC trainer.

Mihee Kang

Mihee KangDr. Mihee Kang is a research professor at Seoul National University, researching topics related to protected areas management and sustainable tourism. She has actively participated in numerous ecotourism and protected area projects in Korea and abroad since she got her Ph.D. degree at Seoul National University in 1999. Recently she co-founded Playforest, a cooperative of sustainable travel businesses designed to benefit local communities and local activists dedicated to the conservation of their forests and to provide genuine community-based natural tourism experiences to the visitors. She is acknowledged as the top expert in South Korea on certification for ecotourism, called upon regularly by top government ministries, local authorities, NGO’s, etc. for research and guidance on standards, certification, and compliance. Since 2002 she has worked on introducing and developing the Korean ecotourism certification program. She was in charge of developing the Korean criteria and has been taking the lead at implementing the certification program as a chair of the Korean ecotourism certification committee. She has also been leading the revision of the different set of ecotourism criteria based on GSTC criteria.

José Augusto A. K. Pinto de Abreu

DSC Jose Augusto5During the last 25 years José Augusto Abreu had the opportunity to work with standards and conformity assessment programs, both in the operational and strategic level and at international and national level. José Augusto’s experience comprises quality and safety and also environment, ecolabelling and sustainability. During these years he worked on several projects and initiatives, including many in the tourism sector. José Augusto worked for standards bodies, certification bodies, accreditation bodies, NGOs, governments and private enterprises. He is a civil engineer and holds a master in civil engineering. He lives in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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