Green Tourism Criteria Gains GSTC-Recognized Standard Status The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) is pleased to announce that the ‘Green Tourism Criteria for Hotels & Other Accommodation’ Version 10 dated 20th December 2023, has gained GSTC-Recognized Standard status, meaning it has been fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria

The Green Tourism Criteria is based on three principles, caring for People, Places, and Our Planet. It gives support to tourism & hospitality businesses to make a difference, save resources, and reduce their carbon footprint, considering the social, economic, and environmental actions undertaken and provides a holistic review of the business’s sustainability performance. 

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the content of the standard equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental principles. 

GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to the process of certification (which is a third-party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard). GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to accreditation (formal verification that a certification body operates in a competent and neutral manner according to international standards of how to properly certify, which is the highest level of assurance).

The stated scope of the standard is ‘Hotels and other accommodation facilities’ with international coverage. The GSTC Recognition of the standard. The GSTC Recognition has an additional time limitation that by 31 December 2024, owners of existing GSTC-Recognized Standards need to pursue accreditation.

Andrea Nicholas, Founder and CEO of Green Tourism, expresses her delight at having their criteria acknowledged by GSTC. “We are proud to be aligned with GSTC’s global effort to fulfill tourism’s potential as a vehicle for social, cultural, and economic good by fostering the increased knowledge, understanding, adoption, and demand for sustainable tourism practices and standards. We will strive to nurture a lasting and supportive relationship with GSTC to advance industry progress.”

“By incorporating the principles of the Four Pillars of the GSTC Criteria into its core, Green Tourism displays its allegiance to a holistic and global strategy,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.

Currently, 15 destination standards, 20 tour operator standards, 44 hotel standards, and 5 systems have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practices, transparency, and rigor. A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here

About the GSTC

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 Accreditation of 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 it accredits 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, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism. 

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About Green Tourism

Green Tourism works to promote a greener, cleaner environment, for people, places, and our planet, by offering their members advice on: Reducing energy use; Saving water; Efficient & eco-friendly waste disposal; Ethical buying; Staying local & seasonal; Minimising food miles; Promoting biodiversity; Adopting a smart, sustainable outlook from top to bottom.

Green Tourism understands that sustainability is the key to success within the modern hospitality industry. For the industry to be successful both nationally and internationally it is important to have a system in place to help set targets and to show continual improvement.

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