Tour Operator - Why Become Certified?

Being GSTC Certified means that your travel or tourism product or service complies with the highest social and environmental standards on the market. As public concern grows about the harmful affects and the positive impacts of travel and tourism, GSTC Certification provides you a credible solution to complex environmental and social issues.

Travel providers should proudly display information regarding their certificate and the certifying body that issued it. Doing so informs your stakeholders -- from customers to ownership and to your supply chain -- that your business is operated with sound management that looks to the future and not merely at today.

Increasingly, travelers and your fellow travel provider clients are seeking confirmation that sustainability practices are in place. Also increasingly, travel companies are looking to product that is not only certified sustainable, but certified sustainable by a certifying body that carries the GSTC Certified mark. For example, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced on July 1st, 2016 that operators of shore excursions will gain preferential buying treatment, when feasible, by being certified by a certifying body that carries a GSTC Certified mark. Other travel providers also give preferential buying treatment to suppliers that are certified sustainable.

Join the growing number of tour operators throughout the world that have become certified sustainable!


How To Become Certified

To become certified, travel and tourism companies must:

 1 - Choose a certifying body from the list below -- these are organizations whose quality has been verified and accredited by the GSTC

 2 - After working with a Certification Body (CB) towards achieving full GSTC requirements compliance, your operation will receive its GSTC Certificate.

The Certifying Bodies listed here have been accredited by GSTC to certify tour operators. As such, these certifying bodies and their certificate-holders are authorized to display the designated GSTC Logo (upon completion of a licensing agreement with the GSTC).


GSTC-Accredited/Approved Certifying Bodies for Tour Operations

Biosphere Responsible Tourism


ITR 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.

Get certified by Biosphere Responsible Tourism

Control Union

control unionControl Union Certifications offers a global one-stop-shop for a wide range of certification programmes. We understand the importance of impartiality and objectivity, and how to professionally manage conflicts of interest. From the beginning, sustainability has been the main focus of our certification services. Control Union Certifications presents a wide range of programmes in agriculture, food, feed, forest products, textiles and bio energy. In 2016, Control Union Certifications became the first Accredited CAB for the GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, which provides the highest level in terms of credibility within the GSTC Integrity program.

Get certified by Control Union



EarthCheck 150x150

EarthCheck is a leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism. Since 1987, we have helped businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travellers to visit, live, work and play. The EarthCheck program is built on Agenda 21 principles and is currently used in more than 70 countries across the globe in six languages. EarthCheck patented software and systems have set a benchmark for sustainability reporting for the travel and tourism industry.

Get certified by EarthCheck


Ecotourism Australia

EA Logo

Ecotourism Australia is a not for profit organisation that is focused on inspiring environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism. Ecotourism Australia was formed in 1991 and is the peak industry body for ecotourism in Australia, managing four certification programs for tourism operators. Their primary product development tool, ECO certification, is a world recognised program with a UNESCO World Heritage Centre MOU and is Approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. They work with and represent Ecotourism operators, Protected Area Managers, State and Regional Tourism Organisations, Government agencies and other stakeholders.

Get certified by Ecotourism Australia


Rainforest Alliance

logos-rainforest-allianceThe Rainforest Alliance works with hotels, restaurants and other tourism businesses to help them improve their environmental, social and economic practices. Through training and technical assistance, we teach them how to operate sustainably and verify their progress toward this goal. Those enterprises that meet our requirements are eligible to receive promotional benefits, including the use of the Rainforest Alliance Verified™ mark.

Get certified by Rainforest Alliance



  • Certification by a certifying body whose standard is "GSTC Recognized" does NOT constitute being "GSTC Certified". "GSTC Recognized" relates to a published set of standards and NOT to the process of certification.  Click here to learn more about GSTC Recognized and to view lists of standards that are  Recognized by the GSTC as adhering to the GSTC Criteria.
  • The above standards have been Accredited or Approved as in compliance with the requirements of the Manuals for GSTC Accreditation or Approval. The Accredited and Approved marks mean that the certification procedures largely meet international standards for transparency, impartiality, and competence.


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