GSTC Criteria Overview:

The GSTC Criteria serve as the global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification.

They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars:

  1. Sustainable management
  2. Socioeconomic impacts
  3. Cultural impacts
  4. Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes)

The GSTC Criteria have been built on decades of prior work and experience around the world, and they take into account the numerous guidelines and standards for sustainable tourism from every continent. During the process of development, they were widely consulted throughout the globe, in both developed and developing countries, in several languages. They reflect our goal in attaining a global consensus on sustainable tourism. The process of developing the Criteria was designed to adhere to the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors. That code is informed by relevant ISO standards.

The Criteria are the minimum, not the maximum, which businesses, governments, and destinations should achieve to approach social, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.

Two sets of GSTC Criteria:

GSTC Industry Criteria

This set of Criteria relates to the sustainable management of private-sector travel industry, focusing currently on Hotels and Tour Operators.

GSTC Industry Criteria

GSTC Destination Criteria

This set of Criteria relates to sustainable management of Tourism Destinations.

GSTC Destination Criteria

GSTC Criteria Translations

The GSTC Criteria are used for a variety of applications (education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification). Therefore, the GSTC Criteria have been translated into many languages, available to the public to download on the GSTC website:

Translations of the GSTC Criteria in other languages

Future Revisions of the GSTC Criteria

The GSTC Criteria is being revised every few years, in a manner to comply with the ISEAL Alliance standard-setting code. The revision process includes two public consultations, allowing anyone interested to comment.

More details on the GSTC Criteria Revision & Feedback

Commercial use of the GSTC Criteria

The GSTC Criteria are available from the GSTC website free of charge for their non-commercial use. As the owner of the GSTC Criteria, the GSTC reserves the right to assess and charge fees for the commercial use of the GSTC Criteria.