GSTC Mission & Impacts
Tourism fulfills its potential as a vehicle for social, cultural, and economic good while removing and avoiding any negative impacts from its activities in terms of environmental and social impacts.
To be an agent of change in the world of sustainable travel and tourism by fostering the increased knowledge, understanding, adoption and demand for sustainable tourism practices.
The GSTC vision and mission is accomplished by the following activities:
Developing International Standards – the GSTC Criteria
The GSTC Criteria are global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism:
- GSTC Industry Criteria – guiding principles for all types of tourism-related business, with detailed guidance for hotels/accommodations and tour operators/agencies
- GSTC Destination Criteria – guidance for policy (national, provincial, etc.) and for destination management
The GSTC Criteria provide a comprehensive definition of sustainable travel and tourism, arranged to support four pillars of sustainability:
- Managing for sustainability
- Culture and Community
Providing Assurance for Sustainable Tourism
Accreditation: The GSTC provides accreditation services for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as sustainable. Learn about the difference between certification and accreditation.
“GSTC Recognized” standards. Distinct from accreditation of certification, GSTC also offers an “Assurance” scheme to formally indicate whether another organization’s sustainable tourism standards complies in very technical terms with the GSTC Criteria.
Read more about the difference between certification, accreditation of certification bodies, and recognition of standards.
Making Destinations Sustainable
“Destination Stewardship” is our description for the framework whereby the public sector, private sector, and the residents of local community are engaged jointly to preserve, protect, and benefit from visitors to their touristic destination.
The GSTC Destination Criteria and our destination programs provide support to destinations seeking to manage and operate truly sustainable and responsible forms of tourism.
Promoting Market Access
The GSTC promotes the development of broad market adoption and application of the GSTC Criteria. With the ultimate goal of increasing demand for sustainable travel and tourism offerings and building trust amongst travelers, the GSTC works to identify opportunities and solutions for alignment greater market potential, working closely with prominent OTAs and large travel providers.
The GSTC is committed to ensuring that sustainable tourism best practices are adopted and implemented by the industry and the traveling public. The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP), with the support of the Education and Training Working Group, delivers training to managers and practitioners on use of contemporary tools and resources to facilitate the transition to sustainable practices. Training courses are relevant for a wide range of tourism industry professionals including: hotel managers and staff, tour operator managers and staff, destination managers, government officials, consultants, NGOs, and academic institutions.