The following have been written to explain the meaning of terms used in the GSTC Process, although account has been taken of generic definitions used elsewhere.

For those terms not defined here, the hierarchy of definitions used is:

a) ISEAL standards setting code version 5

b) ISO/IEC DIS 17065

c) ISO/IEC 17011

d) ISO/IEC 17000

e) ISO Guide 2



 Accreditation    The process of approval by GSTC of a certification body’s competence to certify organisations to a GTSC-Recognized standard.
 Accreditation body  An independent entity that operates in conformity with the standard ISO/IEC 17011 and that is technically competent to accredit CPs to perform  conformity assessment using a GTSC- Recognized Standard.
 Audit  A systematic and comprehensive process of investigation through checking documents, conducting interviews, observation and other means.
 CB  See Certification Body or Conformity assessment body.
 Certificate holder  A tourism enterprise, activity or service that has been certified by a GSTC-Approved CP or a GSTC-Accredited CB.


 Voluntary, third-party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard.
 Certification body  A body that verifies that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled. Abbreviated “CB”.
 Certification programme  A certification scheme that requires conformity with a GSTC- Recognized Standard to award certification and that conducts certification. Abbreviated  “CP”.
 Certification scheme  A specific, named programme of certification resulting in the granting of a certificate of conformity to a tourism enterprise by a CB along with the  right to display a mark associated with the scheme. It is defined by ISO as “[the rules, procedures, and management for carrying out certification]  related to specified [services], to which the same specified requirements, specific rules and procedures apply.” After draft ISO 17067.
 Certification scheme owner  A person or other legal entity who owns the intellectual property associated with a sustainable tourism certification scheme.
 Client  A tourism enterprise that purchases a certification service from a CP or CB.
 Comparable standard  A standard that achieves the same outcomes as the GSTC standard’s outcome by differing methods.
 Conflict of interest  A situation where the capacity for objectivity of a person or body is at risk.
 Conformity Assessment

 A process of checking and verifying the extent to which a tourism enterprise or certification scheme meets a specified standard and criteria.

 Consultancy  The provision, for a fee (directly or indirectly), of expertise to a tourism enterprise or CP on the design, management and operation of their  services


 See Certification Programme.
 Equivalent standard  A standard whose requirements have a direct correspondence with the requirements with the GSTC standard. The standard may have differing  presentation, or even in substance, e.g. in providing guidance on how to meet requirements. Equivalency for purposes of GSTC Recognition includes  harmonized, unified, identical, unilaterally-aligned, and comparable standards. (ISO/IEC Guide 2:2004 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.8, and 6.9).
 GTSC  Global Sustainable Tourism Council
 GSTC Accreditation  Accreditation provided by an accreditation body that is endorsed by the GSTC.
 GSTC Accreditation Panel  An independent body of the GSTC that is technically competent and impartial, that will make decisions on recognizing sustainable tourism standards and certification scheme owners, and may endorse accreditation body recommendations to accredit CBs.
 GSTC Benchmarking Criteria  The minimum requirement for a tourism standard to be recognized as fully complying with principles of sustainable tourism as identified by the GSTC and the GSTC Criteria.
 GSTC Criteria  GSTC Criteria are a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and are the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are  organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning; maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community; enhancing  cultural heritage; and reducing negative impacts to the environment. Although the criteria are initially intended for use by the accommodation and  tour operation sectors, they have applicability to the entire tourism industry.
 GSTC requirements for certification programmes  The requirements that a CP shall meet in terms of its structure, management and operational procedures.
 GTSC-Recognized Standard  A sustainable tourism standard that has been evaluated by the GSTC as being equivalent to the GSTC Standard.
 Impartiality  The ability to make judgements and take decisions that are objective, based strictly on facts and free from other influences.

 Non- conformity

 The absence of, or failure to meet, an element of a standard or performance criteria.
 Standard owner  A person or other legal entity who owns the intellectual property associated with a sustainable tourism standard.
 Sustainable tourism standard  A set of rules and guidelines that define the requirements of tourism enterprises in delivering sustainable tourism. For GSTC recognition, the  standard shall be equivalent to the GSTC Standard.
 Third-party  Carried out by an individual or body that is independent of the entity being certified or accredited.
 Tourism enterprise

 An entity providing one or more services to tourists.

 Unilaterally aligned standard  A standard that is equivalent or comparable to the GSTC standard but contains further requirements not contained in the GSTC standard.
Levels of requirement
 ‘will’  The body commits to undertake the specified action
 ‘shall’  The body must take the specified action to be in compliance
 ‘should’  The body is expected to take the specified action
 ‘may’  The body is allowed to take the specified action

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