The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) manages the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acts as an international body providing assurance for sustainable tourism certification in three key subsectors of tourism: hotels/accommodations, tour operators/agencies, and destinations.
The GSTC in 4 paragraphs
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism.
The Criteria are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes). Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.
The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s role in providing assurance for impartiality and competence of Certification Programs that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but it provides assurance for those that do.
The GSTC is an independent and neutral organization, legally registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.