Destination Canada Becomes a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Canada encompasses a vast expanse of diverse landscapes and rich history. Spanned by the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada’s terrain unfurls from the rugged peaks of the Rockies, through the expansive prairies, dense boreal forests, and along the rugged Atlantic coastline.
Destination Canada is committed to sustaining a premier four-season tourism economy that is regenerative in nature – supporting both the economy and the environment, and is continuously auditing and improving its systems and processes, and encouraging its partners across the industry to do the same.
Sustainability in Canada
Signing on to the GSTC is the latest in a series of actions designed to set Destination Canada on a path to becoming an example in sustainability across the industry. This builds on existing efforts and initiatives including the recent Destination Stewardship Symposium where global thought leaders within the industry and beyond gathered to discuss best practices and insights from both Canadian and international destinations that have successfully implemented intentional destination development and applied principles of regeneration and sustainability.
Additionally, Destination Canada’s Business Events Sustainability Plan is a national program aimed at improving the economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability practices of business events hosted in Canada. The plan includes coaching, training and education opportunities for domestic partners to advance their sustainability programs.
The ultimate goal of the Canadian Business Event Sustainability Plan is to help global clients develop business events with sustainability at their core — specifically for international association conferences, trade exhibitions, workshops and seminars, as well as corporate meetings and incentive group events. This will be achieved by collaborating with industry partners and destinations across the country to offer solutions that allow them to forge ahead in their sustainability efforts. Through the plan, partners will become empowered to act as stewards of sustainability in their communities.
Destination Canada’s aspiration is focused on generating wealth and well-being for Canadians while enriching the lives of guests, increasing business prosperity, strengthening socio-cultural vibrancy and lifting environmental sustainability.
“Becoming a member of the GSTC underlines our commitment to create and preserve a Canadian hosting sector that not only benefits the economy, but respects and protects the environment, social cohesion, cultural social sustainability and all communities across Canada”, said Marsha Walden, Destination Canada’s President and CEO. “We recognize our duty to serve as destination stewards and champions of sustainability, and we know the value and importance of a regenerative approach to tourism. We are committed to not only exploring, embracing and applying sustainable policies and practices throughout our organization, but to championing this across the industry. We look forward to the exchanges, learnings and increased accountability that will come from being members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.”
GSTC Welcomes Destination Canada
“We welcome Destination Canada as a member of GSTC and congratulate them on their commitment to sustainable tourism development. We believe that tourism, when nurtured with sustainability at its core, can be a potent force for positive change, playing a pivotal role in preserving both natural and cultural wonders, catalyzing local economic growth, and fostering cross-cultural connections and harmony. We hope this partnership will strengthen Destination Canada and their partners in their quest for a sustainable, inclusive, and thriving tomorrow,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.
Destination Canada is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada and formed under the Canadian Tourism Commission Act. Its aspiration is to enhance the quality of life of Canadians and enrich the lives of visitors.
Destination Canada’s mission is to influence supply and build demand for the benefit of locals, communities and visitors through leading research, building alignment with public and private sectors, and marketing Canada nationally and abroad. In collaboration with its partners, they promote Canada as a premier four-season leisure and business tourism destination around the country and the world.
Destination Canada’s approach focuses on markets where Canada’s tourism brand leads and yields the highest return on investment. They use research to drive their evidence-based marketing in nine key geographic leisure source markets: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, their Business Events team leverages in-depth global market analysis to target international clusters aligned with Canada’s priority economic sectors.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.
The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.