Leilani Latimer - Sabre Holdings, GSTC Board Member and Chair of the Market Access Working Group

Leilani Latimer – Sabre Holdings, GSTC Board Member and Chair of the Market Access Working Group

Standards for Sustainable Tourism

When you think of standards, do you think of limitations or confinements? If you’ve ever been in sales, you know that standards can give you boundaries, which you can then run freely from. These global standards, that GSTC has created are essential tools for businesses to innovate. They increase customer loyalty and competition in today’s fast-paced environment.

There is good news. The Travel and Tourism Industry has a global framework for sustainable travel that will help you achieve those goals – all whilst protecting your key stakeholders; economies, communities, people and the planet!

Realizing the Benefits of the Standards for Sustainable Tourism

My name is Leilani Latimer and I chair the Market Access working group at the GSTC. Our goal is to ensure that immediate benefits can be realized using these standards for sustainable tourism; the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. Corporate and leisure travelers alike are increasingly looking for sustainable travel options. However, they are often confused by the various offerings that fail to coalesce around a consistent industry standard.logos-sabre

Many hoteliers, for instance, have received certification from a range of different programs and providers. However, they cannot be easily marketed in an electronic distribution environment, nor easily explained to the traveler. By aligning their standards with the GSTC criteria, those hotels can more easily distinguish their offerings from those of competitors.

Rationalizing the Various Global Standards

Therefore, our work at the GSTC is aimed at rationalizing the various standards that exist globally. Once a standard has been rationalized, we identify it as “GSTC Recognized”. This will then allow us to promote all of the programs that certify to GSTC – recognized standards. Additionally, it will consequently drive demand for certified sustainable travel options with clarity and integrity. Once a certain standard has gained GSTC Recognition, the programs that certify to those standards will receive benefits from the “recognition” status. Businesses that were certified by these programs will also benefit.

Examples of Sabre Upholding the Standards for Sustainable Tourism

At Sabre Holdings we promote a shared vision with our stakeholders. This includes a commitment to working across the industry to establish and implement these global standards. By adopting the GSTC criteria for our Travelocity Green Hotels program, we were able to harmonize all of the different green certification programs our suppliers use. We believe this creates more clear, sustainable choices for our consumers, with the trust and confidence that those standards hold.

Importance of Applying these Standards

These frameworks extend beyond the consumer-facing travel world. At Sabre, we also use the GSTC criteria in our own managed travel programs. Therefore, the GSTC Criteria is just as valuable in the development of a sustainable travel procurement process, local government travel programs or programs promoted by industry associations. The GSTC Market Access working group is focused on working across travel sectors for broad acceptance and use of the criteria to ensure we can all “Travel Forever”.