GSTC Recognized

GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism and is administered by a standard/system owner that meets GSTC requirements. This designation is made by GSTC’s independent Assurance Panel. This means that the GSTC has verified that the standard aligns with the GSTC Criteria and that any additional clauses do not contradict GSTC Criteria requirements.

GSTC-Recognized does NOT mean that the owner of the standard or system is accredited. In other words, Recognition is of the set of standards or a system, not of an organization or a certification scheme.

Who can apply?

The owner of any standard or system that is applied to more than one organizational unit. Those standards can be applied in a variety of manners: for training, education, and awareness; for a certification or verification program, for internal hotel chain programs, tour operator for its commercialization chain, etc.

Why Apply?

The GSTC Criteria are regarded as universal standards for sustainable tourism, developed by a rigorous and highly inclusive process, meaning that complying with them adds a layer of credibility to other standards.


  • International credibility that the standard is Recognized as a standard that aligns with universal criteria for sustainable management, social and economic benefits to the local community, cultural heritage preservation and the reduction of pollution.
  • Individual certified hotels will be included in a GSTC index that will be promoted to online travel agencies (OTA’s) and offline to various travel providers to use for purposes of preferential buying
  • Qualification for GSTC-Accreditation of the certification program
  • Announcement of achievement in GSTC newsletter, GSTC website, and GSTC social media outlets


The standard owner submits an application to the GSTC technical team for review.

The GSTC team evaluates the standard against the GSTC Criteria. If the standard meets GSTC requirements, a report is prepared and sent to the GSTC Assurance Panel for final review and approval. If the standard does not meet the requirements the standard owner will be informed and an attempt will be made to help them meet the requirements.  If the non-conformities cannot be remedied, the Assurance Panel will decline the petition.  Standard owners can resubmit once they have complied with the requirements.

Standard owners will be notified via email whether their standard has been recognized, recognized with conditions for future improvement, or rejected with an explanation of the areas that must be improved.

GSTC Recognition Manual

Download GSTC Recognition Manual v5.0

GSTC Recognition Applications

Download Application for Recognition of Standards for Destinations

Download Application for Recognition of Standards for Hotel and Tour Operators


Download the current price sheet

To submit your application

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