On February 7th, 2011, the first meeting of the GSTC Assurance Panel (back then called Accreditation Panel) took place virtually.

“During the past 10 years, the Panel has reviewed around 100 applications seeking GSTC’s recognition of a standard or accreditation of a certification system,” says Cathy Parsons, GSTC Assurance Panel Chair. “I want to thank all members of the Panel and particularly acknowledge the contribution of both José Augusto Pinto de Abreu and Geoff Penrose who have participated in the Panel’s work since its inception.”

Assurance Panel Role

The GSTC Assurance Panel seeks to recognize standards and certification programs that are credible, transparent, impartial, and comply with the GSTC Industry Criteria and GSTC Destination Criteria for sustainable tourism. The Panel provides an impartial voice and operates independently of the GSTC Secretariat. The GSTC Assurance Panel members have been selected and appointed on the basis of specific qualifications and experience requirements.

As such, the Assurance Panel plays the important decision-making roles for the Recognition of Standards (whereby a set of standards voluntarily requests GSTC to mark their standard as compliant with the GSTC Criteria) and to oversee the management of accreditation of Certification Bodies. GSTC’s partner ASI (Assurance Services International) provides accreditation service on behalf of GSTC, while GSTC’s internal Assurance Panel and Secretariat set guidelines for that accreditation program.

“The Assurance Panel has done an outstanding job in maintaining a high standard in its work and providing confidence that the process of obtaining GSTC recognition of a standard or accreditation of a certification system, is fair and rigorous,” says Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chair.

GSTC History

More information about the early development of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council can be found in the section: GSTC History.