Arival Looks into the question: «Are Sustainability Certifications Worth It?»


There is a clear business opportunity for tour operators to please travelers who care about sustainability a little—and to earn new customers from the passionate travelers who care about sustainability a lot.

Certifications can help prove your company’s sustainable practices, and offer assurance to wary customers that you are doing what you say you do. Certifications can also serve as internal roadmaps or guidelines for tour operators to understand where they’re currently at in terms of sustainability and responsibility, and how they can improve.

The real opportunity in standards like GSTC, says Durband, could be on the B2B side of the travel business. Increasingly, travel trade partners and resellers such as global tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs) give preference to local tour and activity operators that meet sustainability standards. Certifications offer reseller partners the verification that their practices are truly sustainable.

Having a sustainability certification from Travelife—a standard that integrates criteria from seven global sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) guidelines including the criteria from GSTC, is one of the reasons tour operators choose to work with DMC Khiri Travel, which works across eight countries including Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. “There are many other factors, of course, but the certification helps us to prove that we really are sustainable. Travelife involves a strict and lengthy process,” says Herman Hoven, CEO of Khiri Travel. “It gives us recognition to other tour operators and their clients who think sustainability is important.”

Read the full article: Are Sustainability Certifications Worth It? by Jenna Blumenfeld on Arival (May 30, 2019)


GSTC Accredited Certification Bodies and their certificate-holders are authorized to display the designated GSTC Logo.