Destination - Why Become Certified?

Being GSTC Certified means that your travel or tourism product or service complies with the highest social and environmental standards on the market. As public concern grows about the harmful affects and the positive impacts of travel and tourism, GSTC Certification provides you a credible solution to complex environmental and social issues.

Travel providers should proudly display information regarding their certificate and the certifying body that issued it. Doing so informs your stakeholders -- from customers to ownership and to your supply chain -- that your business is operated with sound management that looks to the future and not merely at today.

Increasingly, travelers and your fellow travel provider clients are seeking confirmation that sustainability practices are in place. Also increasingly, travel companies are looking to product that is not only certified sustainable, but certified sustainable by a certifying body that carries the GSTC Certified mark. For example, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines announced on July 1st, 2016 that operators of shore excursions will gain preferential buying treatment by being certified by a certifying body that carries a GSTC Certified mark. Other travel providers also give preferential buying treatment to suppliers that are certified sustainable.


How To Become Certified

GSTC can assist destinations in the early stages of their journey to sustainability, before they are ready to apply for certification, see the GSTC Destination Program

To become certified, tourist destinations must:

 1 - Choose a Certifying Body (CB) from the list below

 2 - After working with a CB towards achieving full GSTC requirements compliance, your operation will receive its GSTC Certificate.

The Certifying Bodies listed here have been accredited by GSTC to certify destinations. As such, these CBs and their certificate-holders are authorized to display the designated GSTC Logo (upon completion of a licensing agreement with the GSTC).


GSTC-Approved Certifying Bodies Destinations

Biosphere Responsible Tourism


ITR is an independent organization and its purpose is implementing actions and programs of sustainable development in the touristic industry. ITR follows the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, Rio 1992), and of the guidelines from several programs of the World Tourism Organization and UNESCO about sustainable development and cultural and natural heritage protection. ITR created and developed the Responsible Tourism System (STR), which is recognized by BIOSPHERE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM label. The STR promotes the sustainable touristic activities so that responsible tourism can be a specific touristic product.

Get certified by Biosphere Responsible Tourism


EarthCheck Destination Standard

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EarthCheck is a leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism. Since 1987, we have helped businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travellers to visit, live, work and play. The EarthCheck program is built on Agenda 21 principles and is currently used in more than 70 countries across the globe in six languages. EarthCheck patented software and systems have set a benchmark for sustainability reporting for the travel and tourism industry.

Get certified by EarthCheck



  • Certification by a certifying body whose standard is "GSTC Recognized" does NOT constitute being "GSTC Certified". "GSTC Recognized" relates to a published set of standards and NOT to the process of certification.  Click here to learn more about GSTC Recognized and to view lists of standards that are  Recognized by the GSTC as adhering to the GSTC Criteria.
  • The above standards have been Accredited or Approved as in compliance with the requirements of the Manuals for GSTC Accreditation or Approval. The Accredited and Approved marks mean that the certification procedures largely meet international standards for transparency, impartiality, and competence.


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Anyone from individuals to larger organizations can help increase the reach, awareness and recognition of sustainable tourism practices.  
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