Recognition, Approval, and Accreditation of Sustainable Tourism Standards
The GSTC Integrity Program offers the GSTC Recognition, Approval and Accreditation processes. The attainment of these marks helps standard owners and certifying programs build consumer and trade confidence, promote efficiency, and distinguish their services from less neutral or efficent schemes.
One of two tracks may be chosen to pursue, described here and illustrated below in the diagram:
This approach is for certification programs that certify travel products and services as sustainable based directly against the GSTC Criteria. It is illustrated at the bottom of the diagram below.
This is designed for certification programs that certify travel products and services as sustainable based on standards owned by the certification program. The first step involves showing evidence that the standard used adheres to the GSTC Criteria. This step is called GSTC Recognized. This is not a quality mark that examines the process of certification; it merely examines the standard used in that process.
GSTC Approved is the quality mark indicating, like Accrediation, that the standard owner applies the standard in a manner that is impartial and competent to the highest international standards. This approach is illustrated at the top of this diagram:
Certifcate holders (such as hotels, tour operators, attractions, destinations, etc.) from certifying bodies that are GSTC-Approved or GSTC-Accredited are designated as "GSTC Certified." No other certificate holders can claim to be GSTC Certified. Certificate holders of GSTC-Recognized certifying bodies are NOT GSTC Certified.
This GSTC Process is not applicable for individual businesses such as hotels or tour operators. Such business must work with certification programs that are GSTC-Approved or Accredited or have developed a standard that has been GSTC Recognized.