The GSTC Council has a large mission and a small staff. The efforts of the Working Groups, made up of member volunteers, are vital to the organization. The Working Groups are chaired by a member of the GSTC Board and prepare an annual action plan and accompanying budget that is presented to the Board for approval.

Destination Stewardship Working Group (DSWG)

This Working Group aims at assisting destinations in maintaining their cultural, environmental and socio-economic integrity through the implementation of the GSTC Destinations Program. The overall goal is to ensure that destinations retain and enhance their distinctive attributes that makes them attractive to beneficial tourism and competitive. Current members:

  • Jonathan Tourtellot (Co-Chair)
  • Randy Durband, GSTC CEO (Co-Chair)
  • Kathleen Pessolano (Vice-Chair), GSTC Destination Program Director
  • Dr. Anna Spenceley
  • Dr. Ioannis Pappas
  • Dr. Mihee Kang
  • Jana Apih, Good Place
  • Jorge Moller, Regenera ONG
  • Joana Homs, Turisme Barcelona
  • Nicola Koschel, WWF
  • Patricio Diaz, ITR/Biosphere
  • Prof. Urs Wagenseil, Institute of Tourism – Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • Richard Malesu, Botswana Tourism Organization

International Standards Working Group (ISWG)

Through this Working Group, the GSTC strives to promote sustainable tourism through the adoption and creation of universal principles for sustainable tourism. The standard setting strategy focuses on the management and revision of the current version of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and the creation or adaptation and distribution of additional criteria, standards and relevant indicators. Current members:

  • Dr. Kelly Bricker (Co-Chair), University of Utah, GSTC Board of Directors
  • Richard Denman (Co-Chair)
  • Andrés Fellenberg Van der Molen, Green Partner
  • Brianda Lopez, Hosteling International
  • Eric Ricaurte, Greenview
  • Heidi van der Watt, GSTC Board of Directors
  • Ingunn Sørnes, Innovation Norway
  • Jackie Denman
  • Jorge Moller, Regenera ONG
  • Julie Klein, Confluence Sustainability
  • Nicola Koschel, World Wildlife Fund
  • Melinda Watt, EarthCheck
  • Nikolas Bakaris
  • Dr. Anna Spenceley

Market Access Working Group (MAWG)

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 while building trust amongst travelers, this Working Group aims at identifying opportunities and solutions for alignment greater market potential. Current members:

  • Andrés Fellenberg Van der Molen, Green Partner
  • André Russ, Earth Check
  • Deby Stabler, Project Azul Verde
  • Gary Graham, Green Key Global
  • Roi Ariel, GSTC General Manager

Communications & Membership Working Group (CMWG)

Supports the GSTC’s activities relation to internal communications, membership engagement, membership recruitment and retention, knowledge management, and networking. Current members:

  • Dr. Jonathon Day (Chair), Purdue University – School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM)
  • Beatriz Barreal, Sustainable Riviera Maya
  • Chi Lo, PATA
  • Dr. Christina Cavaliere, Stockton University
  • Dr. David Randle, University of South Florida
  • Emi Kaiwa, GSTC Membership Coordinator
  • Herbert Hamele, ECOTRANS
  • Jason Lin, Talent Basket
  • Jonathan Tourtellot
  • Dr. Kelly Bricker, University of Utah
  • Roi Ariel, GSTC General Manager

Education & Training Working Group (ETWG)

Supports the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) and builds education and capacity-building opportunities through partnerships with universities and other industry organizations. Current members:

  • Prof. Urs Wagenseil (Chair), Institute of Tourism – Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • Antje Martins, University of Queensland, Business School
  • Beatriz P Soto
  • CB (Ram) Ramkumar, Green Dreams for the Planet
  • Dr. Rosemary Black, Charles Sturt University
  • Dr. Christina Cavaliere, Stockton University
  • David Randle, University of South Florida
  • Herbert Hamele, ECOTRANS
  • Jorge Moller, Regenera ONG
  • Dr. Kelly Bricker, University of Utah
  • Dr. Kimberly Langmaid, Walking Mountains Science Center
  • Manuel Julien Miroglio, Technological University of Leon, Mexico

Business Travel Working Group (BTWG)

BTWG seeks to reach new audiences and attract membership among MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conventions, Events) and Corporate Travel Managers (CTM) and suppliers. While most destinations and hotels accommodate both tourists and business clients, it is important to acknowledge the specialized needs and opportunities in the business market. The BTWG enables GSTC to better address these and ensure sustainability criteria are relevant.

  • Horst Bayer, TravelHorst (Chair)
  • Dr. Aurora Dawn Reinke
  • Marjolein Veenstra, Control Union
  • Shiva Segaram
  • Viola Vorstoffel

Join the GSTC Working Groups

GSTC members who wish to join a GSTC Working Group, please contact: or visit the members area after logging in.