Become Certified as a Sustainable Accommodation

Increasingly, travelers and fellow travel provider clients are seeking confirmation that sustainability practices are in place.

According to’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report, 83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital. 81% of travelers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation, a notable increase from 62% in 2016 and 74% in 2020, just prior to the pandemic. In 2019, 62% of global travelers said that they would feel better about staying in an accommodation if they knew it had an eco-label.

Sustainability certification (what some call eco-label) is a voluntary, third-party assessment, through an audit, of an accommodation for conformity to a sustainable tourism standard, the GSTC Criteria in this case.

Many sustainability standards exist out there. Some standards focus on a specific area within sustainability like energy management or building construction, but it is important to use holistic standards that cover all aspects of sustainability in tourism.

The GSTC Criteria serve as the global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) does not certify. Certification is conducted by relevant Certification Bodies throughout the world. GSTC accredits Certification Bodies that certify.

GSTC does NOT certify anything. GSTC provides accreditation to Certification Bodies. Certification and accreditation are different things.

There are many organizations that offer verification and certification services, and the quality range is enormous: from rigorous, impartial and excellent, to poor. This is why accreditation of how these organizations work is crucial, a formal approval by an independent accreditation body that a certification body operates according to international standards.

Accreditation is a mark of quality that GSTC places on Certification Bodies that choose our independent and neutral process to verify that they certify businesses, in a competent and neutral manner. Some refer to it as ‘certifying the certifiers’ (Learn more about the difference between Certification, Accreditation, and Recognition).

Being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body means that your accommodation complies with the highest social and environmental standards on the market through the highest assurance level that exists.

Certified sustainable hotels should proudly display information regarding their certificate and the certification body that issued it. Doing so informs your stakeholders — from hotel guests to ownership and to your supply chain — that your accommodation is operated with sound management that looks to the future and not merely at today. Those accommodations certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body can use the GSTC logo along with the Certification Body’s mark.

Many owners, distributers and buyers of hotel spaces use the GSTC framework and highlight certified sustainable accommodations. Here are a few of them:

  • Hilton: “We continue to identify opportunities to achieve GSTC certification for our hotels to ensure the sustainability of our operations.”
  • TUI Group “encourages all hotels offered to its 27 million customers to obtain certification that meets the GSTC Criteria.”
  • easyJet holidays “is focused on supporting tourism destinations by committing to encouraging 100% of its contracted hotels to achieve certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification body […] by the end of 2025.”
  • is currently highlighting hotels certified by GSTC-Accredited CBs along with other standards that are Recognized by GSTC.

How To Become Certified

Hotels and accommodations that wish to become certified as sustainable hotels or sustainable accommodations should follow these steps:

(1) Start by using the GSTC Criteria (or a GSTC-Recognized Standard) to assess your current situation and what should be improved.

To gain more in-depth knowledge of how to apply the GSTC Criteria you can attend an optional GSTC Sustainable Tourism training course.

(2) Choose a Certification Body (CB) from the list below. These are organizations that GSTC has accredited based on the quality of their certification process.

(3) After working with a CB towards achieving full GSTC requirements compliance, your operation will receive its Certification by GSTC-Accredited CB.

The Certification Bodies listed below have gone through GSTC Accreditation to certify hotels as sustainable. As such, these certifying bodies and their certificate-holders are authorized to display the designated GSTC Logo (upon completion of a licensing agreement with the GSTC).

To clarify: GSTC does NOT certify anything. GSTC provides accreditation to Certification Bodies. Certification and accreditation are different things.


GSTC Accredited Certification Bodies for Hotel/Accommodation

Bureau Veritas

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in testing, inspection and certification services. Since its creation in 1828, Bureau Veritas has been supporting its clients on every continent to continually improve their performance via certification of management systems, product certifications and customized audits. The Group has more than 78,000 employees located in more than 1,500 offices and laboratories around the globe. Bureau Veritas helps its clients improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions, in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

To be certified by Bureau Veritas, contact BV directly at or visit the following link to get Certified by Bureau Veritas.

Control Union

control unionControl Union Certifications offers a global one-stop-shop for a wide range of certification programmes with a global presence that spans more than 70 countries in six continents. We understand the importance of impartiality and objectivity, and how to professionally manage conflicts of interest. From the beginning, sustainability has been the main focus of our certification services. Control Union Certifications presents a wide range of programmes in agriculture, food, feed, forest products, textiles, bio-energy, and tourism.  In 2016, Control Union Certifications became the first Accredited CB for the GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, and currently work with a dedicated sustainable tourism team on GSTC Certification, providing the highest level in terms of credibility within the GSTC Assurance Program. This means that Control Union Certifications can certify hotels and tour operators directly against the GSTC Criteria.

To be certified by Control Union, contact Seth Wang, General Manager directly at or visit this link to Get Certified by Control Union.


RoyalCert is a reputable certification body based in Germany, operating in 25 countries globally. RoyalCert offer assessment and certification services to a wide range of industries, including Tourism Industry, and serving thousands of customers. RoyalCert core strength lies in their experienced auditors, who have over 20 years of auditing expertise. The company is committed to sustainable growth and adheres to high ethical standards, focusing on integrity and customer satisfaction. By partnering with RoyalCert, customers can improve their operations, enhance business performance, and make a positive impact on society and the environment.

To get certified by RoyalCert, contact RoyalCert directly at

United Certification Systems Limited

UCSL United Certification Systems Limited is an independent international certification body with Headquarters in EU and operating globally (except Türkiye). UCSL  is accredited for various volunteer sustainability certification schemes including Hotels & Tour Operators (GSTC), Marine (ASC, MSC), Global Sustainable Enterprise System (GSES) etc. The team of certification body involves numerous experts and professionals with vast local and international experience in the auditing and sustainability sector. UCSL aims to contribute to the UN SDGs, environmental well-being of the planet through provision of excellent services to like-minded sustainable businesses.

Visit the following link to get Certified by UCSL.

Vireo Srl

Vireo Srl is a certification company whose commercial activities consist of providing Italian and foreign companies with environmental certification services. Vireo provides worldwide recognized environmental certification schemes such as FSC, MSC, and GSTC – as a GSTC-Accredited certification body. The professional approach and deep knowledge of standards are the key elements that mark Viero’s services. Based in Padova, Italy, Vireo has international experience and works with professional and highly qualified auditors.

To be certified by Vireo Srl, contact Vireo directly at or visit the following link to get Certified by Vireo Srl.

Mauritius Standards Bureau: Blue Oasis

The Mauritius Standards Bureau (MSB) is a non-profit parastatal body in the island of Mauritius that certifies Hotels & Accommodations and Tour Operators operating within the Mauritian jurisdiction and territories, as per the GSTC-Recognized Standard MS 165 (Sustainable Tourism Management System) labelled as the Blue Oasis. MSB holds a prominent regional and international presence, contributing to standardization and conformity assessment bodies. The paramount goal of MSB is to drive industrial advancement and foster economic expansion in Mauritius, by boosting the local tourism industry towards sustainability.

If your Accommodation/Hotel is located in Mauritius, visit the following link to get Certified by MSB.


Another option is to seek verification to a GSTC-Recognized Standard

There are many sustainable tourism standards out there and it is important to use holistic standards that include the four pillars of the sustainable tourism: Environment, Social, Cultural, and Management principles. 

GSTC-Recognized Standards are sustainable tourism standards that are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. This means that the GSTC Criteria are included within the set of standards. 

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).

GSTC does NOT certify directly. The GSTC Criteria appear in this list to clarify the point that Certification Bodies that gain accreditation have the option to certify by using their own GSTC-Recognized standard or by using the GSTC Criteria.