Words and phrases can often convey different meanings depending on circumstances, application, location, and a number of other factors. The following glossary has been compiled In order to combat possible confusion as well as provide additional clarity to many of the concepts illustrated in the Criteria.

Where possible, definitions were drawn or adapted from organizations or reference materials that relate directly to the most universally-recognized meaning of the word or concept.

Access Permission, liberty, or ability to enter, approach, or pass to and from a place or to approach or communicate with a person or thing
Accessible Providing for the ability of individuals with varied capabilities the opportunity to reach, participate, or understand
Accurate Free from error especially as the result of care; conforming exactly to truth or to a standard.
Active travel Making journeys by physically active means, such as walking or cycling
Adolescent A young person who is developing into an adult
Advancement Promotion or elevation to a higher rank or position
Air pollution The presence of chemicals or compounds in the air which are usually not present and which lower the quality of the air. The transport sector is responsible for a large proportion of urban air pollution.
Animal welfare Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. The universally recognized “Five Freedoms”, published in 1965, describe the right to welfare of animals under human control. According to this concept, an animal’s primary welfare needs can be met by providing: freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.
Appropriate behavior Behaviour of any individual involved with a tourism business that is characterized by respect for the sociocultural and ecological fabric of a location.
Archaeological artefacts Any object manufactured, used or modified by humans. Common examples include tools, utensils, art, food remains, and other products of human activity.
Artefact Something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; especially an object remaining from a particular period
Assurance Demonstrable evidence that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled (adapted from ISO 17000).   Synonyms: certification, verification
Authentic Worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; not false or imitation : real, actual; true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character; made or done the same way as an original;
Basic services Includes primary education, health care, clean water supply, sanitation, solid waste and energy supply
Benefit To add positive value
Biodiversity Variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems
Capacity The potential or suitability for holding, storing, or accommodating (GSTC-D C6/D2)
Capacity (2) The ability or facility to act (GSTC-D A5)
Captive Confined; kept within bounds
Carbon Dioxide A greenhouse gas produced through respiration and the decomposition of organic substances.   Combustion of fossil fuels is primarily responsible for increased atmospheric concentrations of this gas.
Carbon Footprint The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carbon Neutral Achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.
Certification Voluntary, third party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard.
Child Young human being, boy or girl; person who has not reached age of discretion.
Child Labour Work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work
Climate Change Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.
Climate change adaptation Anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise.
Climate change mitigation Actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term climate change and its related effects. Climate change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Climate Neutral The concept of reducing or offsetting any greenhouse gases produced by any entity (individual, business, country, etc.) so as to create a ‘neutral’ effect on global warming for that entity
CO2 Offsets A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or to offset an emission made elsewhere
Code of conduct A set of rules that guide what is and is not acceptable or expected behaviour in a given situation
Code of practice Set of guidelines and/or regulations to be followed by members of some profession, trade, occupation, organization etc.; does not normally have the force of law
Collaboration The act of working together with other people or organizations to create or achieve something
Communal rights Rights held in common by members of a community
Community consent Often annotated as free, prior, and informed, consent, community consent indicates approval of any outside incursion or development into community lands or practices. Consent does not require unanimity among all of the members of a community. Rather, consent should be determined pursuant to customary law and practice, or in some other way agreed upon by the community.
Compliance Conformity in fulfilling official requirements.
Concession A grant of land or property especially by a government in return for services or for a particular use; the right to undertake and profit by a specified activity.
Congestion A situation in which there is too much traffic and movement is difficult
Conservation Planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect
Conservation management Conservation management is a planned intervention in order to maintain a species or habitat in a favourable condition
Continuous improvement An ongoing effort to make incremental improvements to products, services or processes over time. Processes are constantly audited and modified based on their efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability
Corrective Action Plan Corrective action provides that a problem has been recognized, corrected, and proper controls installed to make sure that it does not happen again.
Crisis management The application of strategies designed to help an organization deal with a sudden and significant negative event.
Criterion A standard, rule, or test on which a judgment or decision can be made
Cultural Of or relating to a particular group of people and their habits, beliefs, traditions, etc.
Cultural artefact Any object manufactured, used or modified by humans that expresses the particular characteristic of a people or peoples, including way of life, spiritual beliefs, or a collective sense of history.
Cultural assets Inherited assets which people identify and value as a reflection and expression of their evolving knowledge, beliefs and traditions.  Cultural assets may be tangible or intangible.
Cultural heritage Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
Cultural landscape Landscapes, regardless of scale, that have been affected, influenced, or shaped by human involvement
Culturally appropriate Respecting and accepting cultural difference
Culturally or historically sensitive sites Sites which, by reason of their cultural or historical significance, call for tact, care, or caution in their treatment.
Cumulative impact The impact of a series of repeated or different events or actions which may be greater than the sum of their individual impacts.
Customer satisfaction A measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation.
Decent work Decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.
Destination A destination is a geographical area consisting of all the services and infrastructure necessary for the stay of a specific tourist or tourism segment. Destinations are the competitive units of incoming tourism.
Destination Management Organization Organization responsible for the implementation of strategic tourism policies, product development and co-ordinated management of all the elements that make up a destination (accommodation, attractions, access, marketing, human resources, image). The form and structure of a DMO can vary, depending on the context in which it operates.
Direct economic contribution The direct effects from initial spending which creates additional activity in the local economy
Discrimination Unequal treatment of persons on grounds which are not justifiable in law
Economic benefit Any benefit(s) that can be quantified in terms of money generated, such as net income, revenues, etc.  It can also be money saved when discussing a policy to reduce costs.
Ecosystem All the living things in an area and the way they affect each other and the environment
Emergency response plan A set of written procedures for dealing with emergencies that minimize the impact of the event and facilitate recovery from the event