Accreditation for Certification Bodies

GSTC Accredited means that a Certification Body (CB) awards certification according to processes that comply with international standards and good practices. Businesses certified by an Accredited CB can — if they choose — use the GSTC logo along with the CB’s mark, in accordance with GSTC licensing requirements.

GSTC Accredited status is the most reliable and cost effective way to ensure confidence and credibility of sustainable tourism certification, and worldwide acceptance.

Benefits

  • International credibility that the certification is Accredited.  The certification standard has been found to be in compliance with universal criteria for sustainable tourism and its procedures meet international principles for transparency, impartiality and competence.
  • Use the  GSTC logo for the CB’s purposes, in accordance with a licensing agreement with the GSTC
  • Certified hotels, tour operators and destinations may use the GSTC logo, also in accordance with a licensing agreement with the GSTC, which can add further credibility to the CB’s logo and brand
  • CB featured on the web page of the Accreditation body that manages Accreditation for GSTC (Assurance Services International, or ASI)
  • Co-branding and -marketing opportunities with GSTC

Who can apply?

CBs may apply for accreditation under two options:

Option 1: Any CB that uses a GSTC-Recognized Standard; or

Option 2: Any CB that proposes to use the GSTC Industry Criteria and Indicators (for Hotels/Accommodations or Tour Operators) or the GSTC Destination Criteria (for Destinations) as the standard for certification.

CBs will need to conform to the current version of the GSTC Accreditation Manual and have auditors and certification decision-makers that have specific knowledge of sustainable tourism and the GSTC Criteria.  Attendance at GSTC approved auditor training and satisfactory pass of GSTC examination are additional requirements.  IMPORTANT: this refers to specialized GSTC auditor training and NOT the training program described elsewhere on this website for general tourism practitioners and stakeholders. For auditor training, contact GSTC’s technical team at td@gstcouncil.org).

CBs should have rules and procedures for the application of the standard, transparent and impartial certification procedures, and auditors who are technically competent in sustainable tourism and conformity assessment.

Accreditation procedure

To apply for an accreditation, begin with reviewing the information on ASI website (Assurance Services International), GSTC’s partner in managing the accreditation process.

Download and review:  the GSTC Accreditation Manual – the  ASI Price Sheet. We strongly recommend that prior to launching your application, you carefully review ISO17065 and work towards full compliance, because compliance to this standard is an important feature of the GSTC Accreditation Manual’s requirements.

Contact ASI at asi-info@accreditation-services.com and complete the ASI application form, with any supporting information considered appropriate/requested.

Accreditation requirements

The GSTC Accreditation Manual v2.4  provides detailed technical requirements. CBs are required to comply with ISO 17065 and GSTC specific requirements.

Currently, the GSTC Accreditation Manual v2.4 is under revision. The public consultation of the draft GSTC Accreditation Manual v2.5 closed on October 31st, 2020 and comments are under revision by the GSTC Technical Team. Please visit this page for updates about the GSTC Accreditation Manual v2.5 revision. 

Note: If the CB intends to conduct certification against the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Criteria (Hotels, Tours and/or Destinations) successful completion of an approved GSTC auditor training course and examination prior to application is a requirement.  Important: GSTC auditor training is distinct from the training program for general tourism practitioners and stakeholders featured elsewhere on this website.

Fees

ASI Fees are listed along with applications and instructions on ASI website. The ASI accreditation procedure can be found in the ASI document library.

Before the application review takes place, the CB signs an agreement with ASI and a GSTC licensing agreement with GSTC for use of the GSTC Certified mark. Signature of all agreements is required before the Accreditation application proceeds.

Licensing agreements

CBs agree to a licensing arrangement directly with GSTC for use of the GSTC Certified mark, and agree that certified entities shall also sign a licensing agreement with GSTC as a condition of their certification of the businesses to GSTC standard.   These agreements specify the terms of use of the GSTC name and Seals well as the licensing fees to be paid, and the conditions for use and withdrawal of the GSTC trademarks.

Dispute Mechanism

To submit complaints/ appeals regarding the accreditation procedure and requirements, please review the Dispute Management Information on ASI Website.