What Are the GSTC Criteria?

What Are the Criteria?


GSTC Criteria serve as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification.

They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars:

  • Sustainable management

  • Socioeconomic impacts

  • Cultural impacts

  • Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes)

The GSTC Criteria have been built on decades of prior work and experience around the world, and they take into account the numerous guidelines and standards for sustainable tourism from every continent. During the process of development, they were widely consulted throughout the globe, in both developed and developing countries, in several languages. They reflect our goal in attaining a global consensus on sustainable tourism.  The process of developing the Criteria was designed to adhere to ISO codes of conduct and the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors.

The Criteria are the minimum, not the maximum, which businesses, governments, and destinations should achieve to approach social, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.

To date, two sets of GSTC Criteria have been developed:

- Industry (currently for hotels and tour operators)

- Destinations

GSTC Industry Criteria

(Download in other languages here)

This set of Criteria relates to the sustainable management of private sector travel industry, focusing currently on Hotels and Tour Operators.


GSTC Destination Criteria

(Download in other languages here)

This set of Criteria relates to sustainable management of tourism Destinations.


Click here to sign up to participate in future Criteria revisions or to comment on the current Criteria



  • 1
how you help red
Anyone from individuals to larger organizations can help increase the reach, awareness and recognition of sustainable tourism practices.  
Already a member? Log in
Facebook logo red 32r Twitter logo red 32r LinkedIn logo red 32r GSTC newsletter


United Nations Foundation



TUI Group black lightblue 3C


  • AGEG-blau_High-Res_150x.jpg
  • LightBlue.png
  • ThailandStandards.png
  • Tourcert-Siegel-schraeg.jpg
  • barcelonaturisme.jpg
  • ITW-Logo-150x.jpg
  • GeorgianTA_NEW_x150.jpg
  • ecoclub-com-logo-100x40.png
  • 400dpiLogo---Cropped-150x150.jpg
  • GreenEvolution_x150.jpg
  • ETTC_x150.jpg
  • swiss-approval-x150.jpg
  • GPPA-logo_150x.jpg
  • HSH-logo-01_150x.jpg
  • Royal-Caribbean_for-slider.jpg
  • Logo-Machete-Peru-Transparent-x130.jpg
  • green-loons-logo copy 2.jpg
  • Transat_x150.jpg
  • Khiri.jpg
  • 150x180.jpg
  • WFEN_100x53.jpg
  • GreenKeyGlobal_150x.jpg
  • WWFLogotab.png
  • greenotels-logoRGB_150x.png
  • MasContour_Gro.jpg
  • pcgs-logo150x.png
  • federturismo_confindustria_150.jpg
  • ecola_150x.jpg
  • CED_150x.jpg
  • ecoservices.jpg
  • EarthCheck_150x150.jpg
  • PBO-final-logo_150x150.jpg
  • GTO_Gyeonggi_150.jpg
  • cc_150x150.jpg
  • 52logos-rainforest-alliance.jpg
  • vinetree_150.jpg
  • airbnb_vertical_lockup_web.jpg
  • 40intercontinentalnewyork.jpg
  • IHG-RGB-sm.jpg
  • EcoAustralia.jpg
  • JHY-Sustainable-Destination-Program-Logo_100x95.jpg
  • 16eceat.jpg
  • mci_copy150x.jpg
  • FEDEC.jpg
  • DTN-Logo_x150.png
  • TUI_Group_x150.jpg
  • 37logos-hostelling-intl.jpg
  • 41InstitutodeTurismo.jpg
  • LOGO-CAT-OK-150x.jpg
  • TORNOSnews_x150.png
  • Solimar-International150x150.jpg
  • 77WildAsiaLogo.jpg
  • GTO-eng-logo-comb_150x.jpg
  • Vesselka.png
  • FOW.jpg
  • TrainingAid_100x32.png
  • Medventure_all-logos_150x.jpg
  • Walking-Mountains-Science-Center-Logo_WEB_150x_slider.jpg
  • Project_Azul_Verde_100.jpg
  • Logo-Green-View150x.jpg
  • AGA_logo_circle.jpg
  • GreenGlobe_150x.jpg
  • Logo-BeeHive.001_150x.jpg
  • Travelife.png
  • FTT_150x150.jpg
  • 75logos-utah.jpg
  • GPSInnovation-dark-rgb-100_150x.jpg
  • Shaboury_150x.jpg
  • logos.jpg.png
  • Espiritu_x150.jpg
  • GTP-Logo.png
  • olonade-logo2_.JPG
  • AW-Logo_150x150.jpg
  • Green_Pearls_150.jpg
  • EK-Logo_150x.jpg
  • The-Globe-Ecotourism-Training-Centre_x150.jpg
  • Eco-Travel_x150.jpg
  • diversechina150x.jpg
  • Infinity-Travel_x150.jpg
  • FunDayTours_150x150.jpg
  • 28Logo_GGD-no_sello.jpg
  • botswana.jpg
  • Greengrowth_150x.jpg
  • Altruvistas_150x150.jpg
  • Confluence_logo_web_100.jpg
  • 33HSAC.jpg
  • innovation-norway_150x150.jpg