GSTC is involved in CertificationAccreditation, and Recognition.

What is the difference between the three?

Certification is defined as a voluntary, third-party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise or destination for conformity to a standard. GSTC does NOT conduct certification. That is the job of the many Certification Bodies throughout the world; our job is to accredit those that certify.

Accreditation is a mark of quality that GSTC places on Certification Bodies that choose our independent and neutral process to verify that they certify businesses, such as hotels or tour operators, or destinations, in a competent and neutral manner. We at GSTC look very hard at their process of certification to ensure you that they issue certifications based on merit and neutrality.

GSTC Recognition is something that GSTC provides due to the presence of so many sets of standards for sustainable tourism throughout the world. This relates to GSTC reviewing a set of standards to determine if it includes and complies with the GSTC Criteria. It does NOT relate to the process of certification. Why is this important? Because it shows that the set of standards are based on the 4 pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Environment, Social, Cultural, and Management principles.

  • Certification = a third-party assessment of a tourism enterprise or destination to a standard
  • Accreditation = an intensive verification of a process of certification
  • Recognition = verification by GSTC that the set of standards used by Certification Bodies comply with (include) the GSTC Criteria