List of Recognized Standards for Hotels & Tour Operators

The following standards have been Recognized as aligned with either the GSTC Criteria for Hotels & Tour Operators. GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel, and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism and is administered by a standard owner that meets GSTC requirements. This means that the GSTC has verified that the standard aligns with the GSTC Criteria and that any additional clauses do not contradict GSTC Criteria requirements.

GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. For more information about the GSTC Recognition process, please go here.

Owners of standards and their certificate-holders are NOT authorized to use the GSTC Certified logo.

Biosphere Responsible Tourism (ITR)


Biosphere Responsible Tourism is an independent organization and its purpose is implementing actions and programs of sustainable development in the touristic industry. ITR follows the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, Rio 1992), and of the guidelines from several programs of the World Tourism Organization and UNESCO about sustainable development and cultural and natural heritage protection.

ITR created and developed the Responsible Tourism System (STR), which is recognized by BIOSPHERE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM label. The STR promotes the sustainable touristic activities so that responsible tourism can be a specific touristic product.

In addition to being GSTC-Recognized, the Biosphere Responsible Tourism Standard has also attained GSTC-Approved status.

Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) for hotels


The Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program - CST - is a product of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT). The CST was designed to differentiate businesses of the tourism sector, based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management.CST is regulated by the Costa Rican National Accreditation Commission and consists of a scale of 5 "levels" of sustainable tourism achievement.

Chile Sistema de Distinción en Turismo Sustentable (SERNATUR)


The Chilean national system for distinction of sustainable tourism recognize the efforts of tourist accommodation that have progressed in any field of sustainability, differentiating its members over their competitors while ensuring visitors each organization's commitment to sustainability.

EarthCheck Company Standard

EarthCheck 150x150 

EarthCheck is used by travel and tourism organisations around the world, to validate their carbon claims and guide their sustainability initiatives. It is the largest environmental benchmarking, certification and management solution in use by this industry and the leading program in-market.

In addition to being GSTC-Recognized, the EarthCheck Company Standard has also attained GSTC-Approved status.


EarthCheck Evaluate Standard

EarthCheck 150x150 

EarthCheck Evaluate assesses an operator’s economic, social and environmental impact. The program is the product of 15 years of market research and experience through EarthCheck’s flagship program, EarthCheck Certified, which has helped clients across 70 countries realize more than $500 million in savings. EarthCheck Evaluate uses internationally recognized criteria to report on management performance covering a wide range of areas including environment, risk and quality management.


Eco-Certification Malta


The Eco-certification is the national scheme for ensuring the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural sustainability of hotels and farmhouses on the Maltese Islands. The scheme was launched by the Malta Tourism Authority in 2002 and today represents over 16% of hotel accommodation covering 5-star, 4-star and 3-star categories. The criteria were last revised in June 2012 to be in line with the GSTC criteria making the shift from an environmental scheme to a sustainability scheme. Third party audits are carried out every two years to ensure that the hotels are meeting the requirements of the scheme.

Ecotourism Australia's ecotourism standard & advanced ecotourism standard


Ecotourism Australia was formed in 1991 as an incorporated non-profit organisation, and is the peak national body for the ecotourism industry. The organisation has a diverse membership that includes key industry sectors and including ecotourism accommodation, tour and attraction operators; tourism planners; protected area managers, and other government agencies; academics and students; tourism, environmental, interpretation and training consultants; local and regional tourism associations and travellers.

In addition to being GSTC-Recognized, Ecotourism Australia's ecotourism and advanced ecotourism standards have also attained GSTC-Approved status.

Ecotourism Ireland Certification Programme


Ecotourism Ireland is an organisation set up to stimulate the development of ecotourism countrywide. To achieve these ends we have facilitated the development of an ecotourism quality label that we hope will stimulate the development of new ecotourism experiences in Ireland and at the same time defend the ethical values of existing ecotourism operators. In addition the label has been designed to guide visitors travel choices and help them to choose promoters of ecotourism products and the experiences they have on offer.

Ecotourism Kenya Eco-rating Certification Scheme


The Ecotourism Kenya Eco-rating Certification Scheme is designed to certify as sustainable accommodations of various types throughout Kenya. This is part of Ecotourism Kenya's efforts to make nature- and wildlife-based tourism more and more sustainable by applying localized standards that adhere to the universal principles included within the GSTC Criteria.

European Ecotourism Labeling Standard (EETLS)


The European Ecotourism Knowledge Network (ECOLNET) is a 3-year project (2010-2013) co-financed by the European Commission, Lifelong Learning Programme, Transversal Programmes, Key Activity 3 – ICT Networks. ECOLNET has a dual aim: a) to create an Ecotourism network to bring together a variety of stakeholders and b) to develop innovative evaluation tools and learning products for sharing knowledge among the network and facilitating quality certification through the European Ecotourism Labelling Standard (EETLS).

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT)

 ftt brand

Fair Trade Tourism is a non-profit organisation in South Africa that promotes sustainable tourism development. We do this through awareness raising, research and advocacy, capacity building and by facilitating the world’s first tourism Fair Trade certification programme. FTT awards the use of special label to qualifying businesses as a way of signifying their commitment to Fair Trade criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing, fair operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and environment. By electing to stay at or use the services of an FTT-certified establishment, tourists are assured that their travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

Foundation for Environmental Education's Green Key

Green Key logo in color with text 

Green Key is a programme for accommodations and tourism facilities. It is managed by the charity, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). FEE also runs the Blue Flag programme for beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats. Green Key criteria fall into two major groups: environmental management (energy, water, waste, cleaning, etc.) and sustainability education of staff, guests and suppliers. Compliance with imperative and an increasing number of guideline criteria are required. Rigorous onsite audits are part of the evaluation process. Green Key was founded in 1994. Today it is a leading label with 2,350+ awarded establishments in 50+ countries. FEE has national operators in 40+ countries of managing the Programme nationally. Green Key represents the positive and successful collaboration between the civil society and the hospitality/tourism sector in joint efforts towards implementing sound sustainability management.

Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER)

GER The Long Run 150x150 

The Long Run connects and supports a global community of like-minded organisations and nature-based tourism businesses leading the sustainability movement. It is focussed on businesses that own or significantly support and influence landscapes and marine-scapes of conservation value with a mission to achieve sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4Cs), guided by the Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) standard.

GREAT Green Deal Certification Program

 Logo GGD no sello 2

The GREAT Green Deal Sustainable Certification Program (GGD) represents a way of doing business while taking care of all stakeholders involved in the tourism operations. The GGD standard has more than 400 indicators that provide hotel and tour operators a map that takes executives and entrepreneurs on a path to be more successful in their business while being responsible with employees and their families, the community, the cultural heritage and traditions including the environment.

Green Globe

 jpg certified

Green Globe provides certification, training & education, and marketing services in over 90 countries worldwide. Based in Los Angeles, California and with representations in Latin & South America, Middle East, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, Green Globe provides certification for the sustainable operations and management of travel and tourism companies and their related supplier businesses. Separate standards are offered for Hotels/Resorts, Attractions, Organizations, Cruise Ships, Businesses (outside tourism) and Suppliers for the tourism industry. Green Globe also maintains a global network of independent auditors who provide third party inspection and validation. The Green Globe Certification Standard has been developed and improved over the past 25 years and is internationally recognized. Green Globe offers a platform for auditing and consulting companies to expand their business and to be part of an internal company.

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