(28 September 2015) The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and The Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) have formalized a partnership through a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Areas of cooperation that the groups have agreed on include the support and endorsement of GSTC Criteria, awareness of good sustainability practices and joint advocacy and policy development activities.

The MOU was signed during GSTC’s Annual General Meeting in Huangshan, China, which was attended by AEN’s Chair Masaru Takayama of Japan and AEN board members Dr. Alan Wong of Hong Kong and Dr. Mihee Kang of South Korea.

Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC notes, “Ecotourism is the star of sustainable tourism, and while GSTC strives to affect change in all parts of the travel and tourism sector, we are pleased to work together with ecotourism thought leaders in order to advance our mutual goals. Tourism is growing dramatically in Asia, and we hope that AEN can help ecotourism flourish.”

Masaru Takayama, Chair of AEN says, “Until now, Asia did not have the platform to promote authentic ecotourism. Some may say it is a niche market though we operate in one of the most culturally and environmentally sensitive areas where tourism is booming. Since no ecotourism standard exists in Asia to date, we want to work with GSTC to set a good working model so that the rest of the world can recognize the top runners in Asia while contributing to bottom-up the mainstream industry.”

The agreement between AEN and GSTC strives to build a stronger future for sustainable tourism in Asia. Through the sharing of valuable best practices and advocacy for sustainable tourism, the AEN and GSTC jointly contribute to a future for tourism that’s globally sustainable for all stakeholders.


AEN board members: on the left, Dr. Alan Wong, Hong Kong; Masaru Takayama, Japan; on the right Dr. Mihee Kang, South Korea; in the center GSTC Chair Luigi Cabrini and CEO Randy Durband

About the GSTC:

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is a global initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism efforts around the world. The GSTC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that works to expand understanding of and access to sustainable tourism practices; helps identify and generate markets for sustainable tourism; and educates about and advocates for a set of universal principles, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The Criteria, a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for the sustainability of tourism businesses across the globe, is the cornerstone of our initiative. For more information, visit www.gstcouncil.org.

Media Contact: info@gstcouncil.org

About the AEN:

Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) was founded on June 2, 2015, in Bangkok housed in the Thai public building of Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA). The founding members work across different countries in the region and represent stakeholders of: ecotourism in Japan, ecotourism in Malaysia, ecotourism in Sri Lanka, ecotourism in Thailand, ecotourism Nepal, ecotourism in China, ecotourism in South Korea, ecotourism in Mongolia, ecotourism in India, ecotourism in Laos, ecotourism in Pakistan, ecotourism in Bhutan, ecotourism in Indonesia, ecotourism in Bangladesh, ecotourism in Pakistan, ecotourism in the Philippines, and ecotourism in Australia.

The key objectives include; 1) Connect AEN ecotourism stakeholders for knowledge transfer, and marketing and business opportunities (B2B and B2C). 2) Create new networking opportunities for AEN ecotourism stakeholders. 3) Provide AEN ecotourism stakeholders with modern eLearning tools, training opportunities, and market data. Influence policymakers and emphasize the importance of embracing international branding and certification.

AEN endorses GSTC and its sustainability criteria for sustainability for travel providers, accommodations, destinations, and public authorities in Asia and beyond.

Contact: AEN Secretariat: asianecotourismnetwork@gmail.com

URL: http://www.asianecotourism.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/asianecotourismnetwork/