The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Standard (version 2) for Lodging and Tour Operators has achieved the ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism standard is part of their broader Sustainable Tourism 2030 initiative, which provides programs and services for destinations, tourism businesses, and accommodation providers. The Sustainable Tourism standard enables tourism businesses and accommodations to measure their sustainability performance in several key categories; management, social, economic, natural, cultural, and environmental.

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism standard and means that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards are based on the 4 pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Environment, Social, Cultural, and Management principles. This does not relate to the process of certification, nor to accreditation.

“GreenStep takes a very systematic approach to sustainable tourism,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, “further evidenced by taking this step to ensure that their standards used for their programs for businesses complies with the globally and inclusively managed GSTC Criteria.”

“This is an incredible milestone for our organization, for our Sustainable Tourism certified business members, and for our destination partners,” says Angela Nagy, CEO of GreenStep. “Tourism businesses can use this standard to assess their level of sustainability, develop an action plan for improvement, and achieve certification, all in alignment with internationally relevant sustainable tourism goals and objectives.”

Currently, 11 destination standards, 34 hotel standards, and 32 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market a 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 complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparent, and rigor. 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 UN agencies, NGO’s, national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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About GreenStep

GreenStep provides corporate sustainability consulting, software and certifications, and works with the tourism industry under their Sustainable Tourism 2030 initiative. Through Sustainable Tourism 2030, GreenStep is supporting the global tourism sector to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030; providing sustainability assessments, tools, training, and certifications for tourism destinations and businesses that want to measure and improve their sustainability performance.

GreenStep has worked with more than 2000 businesses and organizations since inception in 2008. GreenStep is a Certified B Corporation, is powered by 100% low-impact renewable energy with Bullfrog Power, and is Certified Carbon Neutral with Offsetters.

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