GSTC Accreditation

What is Accreditation?

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) provides and manages accreditation.

Accreditation is a mark of quality that GSTC places on the certification bodies (CBs) that opt for our independent and impartial process to ensure they certify businesses, such as hotels, tour operators, or destinations, in a competent and unbiased manner.

Being ‘GSTC-Accredited’ means that the CB conducts certification in accordance with processes compliant with international standards and best practices. It stands as the most dependable means to ensure confidence and credibility in sustainable tourism certification.

Learn more about the differences between Certification, Accreditation and Recognition.

How to apply for GSTC Accreditation?

To apply for accreditation, begin by reviewing the latest version of the GSTC Accreditation Manual. This manual outlines detailed technical requirements for accreditation, which CBs must adhere to.

For Industry Certification, review the latest version of the GSTC Accreditation Manual for Certification of Hotel/Accommodation & Tour Operator v.3.1.

For Destination Certification, the GSTC is currently revising the Accreditation Manual for destination certification. As a result, that accreditation process will be temporarily paused and is expected to reopen in 2024.

Accreditation Requirements

Certification Bodies are required to fulfill the requirements set out in the GSTC Accreditation Manual. For example,

  • Legislation
  • Documented rules and policies for the application of the reference standard
  • Transparent and impartial certification procedure
  • Competent personnel capable of conformity assessment in the sustainable tourism field
  • Compliance with the ‘ISO/IEC 17065:2012_Conformity Assessment Requirements for Bodies Certifying Products, Processes, and Services’

The exact technical requirements to be met for the accreditation may vary depending on the scope of accreditation being sought.

Submission of the application

Once all the above-mentioned information has been reviewed, the accreditation application process can be initiated by completing the GSTC Accreditation Application Form and GSTC Accreditation Application Checklist. Entities who wish to proceed with the application can submit them to the GSTC Accreditation team at accreditation@gstc.org.

Accreditation Process

The GSTC Accreditation Procedure v.2.0 outlines procedural guidelines that applicants and Accredited Certification Bodies must follow. This document covers accreditation application, maintaining accreditation, changes in accreditation, complaints and appeals, reporting requirements, and sanctions. 

Be aware that the duration of the assessment process outlined in this document may vary depending on how well-prepared the CB is.

Accreditation Cost

The cost of an accreditation varies based on multiple factors. Before providing an estimation of the cost needed for accreditation, we will require information on the specific accreditation type, the scope of activities to be accredited, the number of assessments to be held, and the overall complexity of the situation. 

Maintaining the accreditation will also involve ongoing costs. These costs primarily cover the regular surveillance assessment, monitoring, and administrative tasks.

The basis for calculating the accreditation cost is outlined in the GSTC Accreditation Fee Schedule.

Important Notice

  1. No license fees are being charged for certified destinations or Annual Maintenance Fees for the accredited CBs within the scope of Destination Criteria. Any changes to this policy will be communicated in 2024.

Licensing Agreement 

Accredited Certification Bodies (ACBs) enter into the Licensing Agreement directly with the GSTC to use the GSTC logo for certified businesses. The agreement specifies the terms of use for the GSTC name and logos, outlines the licensing fees to be paid, and defines the conditions for both usage and withdrawal of the GSTC trademarks.

Dispute Mechanism

To submit complaints/appeals regarding the accreditation procedure and requirements, please review the GSTC Grievance Mechanism, and fill out the Grievance Form PDF / Word.

Please send the completed Grievance Form to complaints@gstc.org.

GSTC is a member of IAAC

As an associate member of the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC), we align with international standards of quality and reliability, reinforcing our dedication to maintaining high standards and fostering trust in our certification and accreditation program.

About IAAC (IAAC Website)