April 3-28, 2017 - GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Online Class (2017 Q2)

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers practical insights and effective steps to help you improve your sustainability practices, and an opportunity to earn GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism. The facilitated online training class of the STTP offers a convenient way to improve your sustainability skills in a flexible online learning environment, while at the same time learning from and interacting with GSTC experts and fellow sustainable tourism practitioners.

The 2017 Q2 class is scheduled for 3-28 April 2017 (four weeks), and is led by GSTC Trainer Dr. D'Arcy Dornan.

gstc sttp training class online april2017

What: 4-week online sustainable tourism training class by the GSTC
When: 3-28 April 2017*
Where: Online
Language: English

*Weekly live presentations and discussions scheduled for 8am PDT (Los Angeles) / 11am EDT (New York) / 5pm CET (Berlin) on the following days:

  • Week 1: Tuesday, April 4th and Friday, April 7th
  • Week 2: Thursday, April 13th
  • Week 3: Thursday, April 20th
  • Week 4: Thursday, April 27th

These live events will be recorded and participants will be able to watch the recordings any time during the training class period.

Registration for this class has been closed. If you're interested in joining an online training course, please see our next class (2017Q3).

Learn More

About the STTP | Certificate in Sustainable Tourism | Course Topics and Objectives 

Course Modules | Course Methodology | Registration Details | Trainers & Presenters | Contact


Sustainable Tourism Training for Industry Professionals

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) provides the knowledge and resources needed to help improve sustainability practices by tourism industry businesses and destinations. Built on the framework of the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, the STTP training class will help you achieve tangible actions that fulfill the globally recognized standard of sustainability best practices.


Certificate in Sustainable Tourism 2017 SAMPLE 300pxCertificate in Sustainable Tourism

By completing this 4-week online training class of the STTP, you will meet the training requirement towards earning the GSTC-endorsed Certificate in Sustainable Tourism.

Once you complete the class, you will have have access to the official STTP Exam, and upon successful completion (75% and above passing mark is required), receive a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism by the GSTC to demonstrate your knowledge of sustainable tourism standards and practices.

>> Learn more about GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism


Course Topics and Objectives

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training covers both global and regional perspectives, and offers practical guidance through best practice cases and real-life lessons to help you achieve tangible sustainability performance goals. The training curriculum includes global trends and issues in sustainable tourism, sustainability best practices by businesses and destinations, and lessons on utilizing the GSTC Criteria as a tourism development and management tool.

You will:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of sustainable tourism standards and the roles of accreditation and certification bodies in the global tourism industry.
  • Be able to make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability practices for your company or destination, utilizing quality sustainable tourism standards as guiding principles.
  • Learn how to build and implement viable and actionable sustainable tourism plans for your organization, including effective strategies for sustainability management, partnerships, engagement and marketing.


Course Modules


Module 1: Effective Sustainable Tourism Management

The first module provides an introduction to the GSTC Criteria, the definition and principles of sustainable tourism, and the GSTC's roles in the global tourism industry, and discusses best practices in sustainable tourism management approaches (GSTC Criteria Section A). 

Learning Goals:

  • Understand the roles of the GSTC and the GSTC Criteria.
  • Learn about and discuss relevant sustainability issues and tourism trends.
  • Become familiar with sustainability management principles and discuss best practices.



Tuesday, April 4th, 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET

Orientation Meeting: "Getting Started on the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training 4-Week Course"

Friday, April 7th, 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET

"Business Case for Sustainability in Travel and Tourism"

Guest Presentation: "Sustainable Destination Standard in Norway" by Ingunn Sørnes, Special Advisor in Sustainable Tourism, Innovation Norway

Module 2: Socioeconomic Impacts and Local Community Benefits

The goal of the second week is both to dive deeper into the GSTC Criteria and to discuss practical steps to applying the Criteria in the real-world context, focused on understanding the socioeconomic impacts of tourism activities, and on effective strategies for reducing negative impacts (GSTC Criteria Section B).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.
  • Learn about sustainability practices that effectively address the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.
  • Discuss practical application of the GSTC Industry Criteria through a business case study.

Thursday, April 13th, 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET

"Maximizing Social and Economic Benefits to the Local Community"

Guest Presentation: "What is the Economic Value / ROI of Sustainable Tourism?" by Irene Lane


Module 3: Cultural Heritage Preservation and Promotion

Continuing on with lessons and expert presentations on the GSTC Criteria, this week focuses on how tourism businesses and destinations can minimize negative impacts, maximize benefits to local communities and protect cultural heritage through sustainable tourism (GSTC Criteria Section C).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the impact of tourism on local cultural heritage.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing negative impacts of tourism activities on local cultural heritage.
  • Discuss how to maximize tourism's benefits for communities, visitors and local cultures through sustainability practices.

Thursday, April 20th, 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET

"Protecting and Enhancing Cultural Heritage through Sustainable Tourism"





Module 4: Resource Management and Environmental Conservation

In the fourth and last module of the course, key strategies for reducing tourism's environmental footprint are presented, and practical action steps in implementing sustainable resource management and conservation practices are discussed (GSTC Criteria Section D).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the environmental impacts of tourism.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing footprint and positively contributing to conservation.
  • Discuss how to achieve optimal results for the local environment, while supporting business growth.



Thursday, April 27th, 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET

"Achieving a Sustainable Balance: People, Planet and Profit"

Guest presentation: "Carbon reduction steps for hotels and operators" by Dr. Ioannis Pappas



*Make sure to check the Live Event times in your time zone


Course Methodology

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training online classes are offered quarterly, and delivered in the 4-Week Course format, which combines the convenience of online, on-demand lessons and the benefits of interactive people-focused learning. The class follows a weekly schedule (one module per week), and includes:

  • Video lessons and readings that can be accessed at your convenience;
  • Hands-on activities to apply your knowledge to your specific real-life, on-the-job practices; and
  • Live and interactive components to enhance learning results through sharing ideas and collaborating with each other.

GSTC STTP Online training classes are delivered through the online training platform by TrainingAid, the STTP training program partner.

>> Learn more about the 4-Week Course format and features


Registration Details

Registration for this class has been closed. If you're interested in joining an online training course, please see our next class (2017Q3).


The early-bird registration fees (available through February 15th, 2017) for this class are:

  • US$ 445 per person (Regular)
  • US$ 395 per person (GSTC Member)

After February 15th, 2017:

  • US$ 495 per person (Regular)
  • US$ 445 per person (GSTC Member)

*For GSTC Organization members, the above member discount is available to all staff members and can be used for an unlimited number of times.

What's Included

As part of your registration, you will receive training materials to be provided prior to the class; access to the online training platform; a Certificate of Completion confirming your attendance in the class; and the opportunity to take the official STTP Exam (the Exam fee, US$ 75 per person, is NOT included in the above training class registration fee).

Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

You will receive a GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism if you pass the STTP Exam. To take the exam after completing the training class, please select the “Exam & Certificate" add-on option during registration. You can also choose and pay separately for the Exam fee after the training class period.

Group Registration Options

You can sign up multiple people at the same time when registering online. Select the number of people you would like register, and you can enter contact details for each participant on the form. We also offer a discount for each group purchase of more than 5 seats. If you would like to sign up as a group of 5 and more, please contact us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more details.

Need-Based Discounts

We offer a limited number of need-based discounts to current students and professionals who demonstrate genuine needs. To apply, please submit this application form.


GSTC Trainer: Dr. D'Arcy Dornan

GSTC Trainer Dr. D'Arcy Dornan

Dr. D'Arcy Dornan is is the director of Tourism, Hospitality & Education Solutions. D'Arcy is the Brazil Country Representative for the GSTC, and serves as a Trainer for the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program. D'Arcy completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, where he specialized in sustainable tourism development. He has taught, published and presented in tourism and hospitality and has been undergraduate/graduate program director at institutions in the U.S. and France.

He has worked in the industry and has experience conducting consultancy projects with NGOs, destinations and others in the industry (hotels, trade associations, tour operators, travel agents, etc). He is currently based in Brazil.

Guest Presenter: Ingunn Sørnes, Special Advisor in Sustainable Tourism, Innovation Norway

Ingunn SornesIngunn Sørnes has for the last years held a position as a special advisor in sustainable tourism in Innovation Norway. Innovation Norway is the main Governmental organization assisting innovation and economic development in different sectors in Norway, among them tourism. Ingunn is responsible for the strategy and operational work on sustainable tourism in Innovation Norway, and over the past 10 years she has developed strategies, tools and instruments for assisting destinations and tourism businesses in their development towards sustainability in tourism.

Under this work Innovation Norway launched a national standard "Sustainable Destinations" in 2013, providing DMOs with management tools, funding and monitoring capability, embedded in a managment system for destinations moving towards a more sustainable future. Up to date 17 destinations are involved in the program.


Guest Presenter: Irene Lane, Founder and President, Greenloons

Irene Lane GreenloonsIrene Lane is a green travel expert who has written and spoken extensively about eco-certifications and how travelers can choose vacations that support communities socially, economically and environmentally. She is a featured writer for the Huffington Post and her blog articles and short pieces also have been published in other media outlets.

Ms. Lane is the only person in the United States who can certify a green travel destination under the internationally-accredited Biosphere certification and she is the founder of Greenloons, which provides sustainable travel tips as well as a carefully curated collection of green travel experiences.


Guest Presenter: Dr. Ioannis Pappas, Co-Founder and CEO, Green Evolution SA

Ioannis PappasDr. Ioannis Pappas is the GSTC Greece Country Representative, and serves as a Trainer for the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program. In addition, he is Approved Auditor for Hotels and Accommodations for Travelife, and Certified Auditor for Green Globe. He is an experienced professional engineer, with over 25 years of work focusing on sustainable tourism, energy and environmental efficiency, auditing or advising in standardization of companies and technological implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation methodologies.

He is active in auditing, consulting and training on all matters of interest to the tourism sector, as Sustainable Tourism Manager by Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence and PM4SD, Auditor for Stars Evaluation of Hotels and Vilas in Greece, Accredited Trainer of Passive House Standard, Accredited Verifier of Airports GHG and European Energy Manager. He also has extensive experience on Project Management as Coordinator and/or Manager in more than 20 National & EU Research Projects, as Certified Auditor of ISO 9001 and 14001 Systems, and as Trained Consultant of ISO 50001 Systems.


Contact Us

If you have any questions about this training class, see our FAQs page or contact: training [at] gstcouncil.org

Can't make it to this class? STTP online training classes are offered quarterly, in addition to the onsite face-to-face training classes offered throughout the year in various locations around the world. See all upcoming STTP training classes here.

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