GSTC-Recognized Standards for Destinations

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GSTC-Recognized Standards for Destinations 2017-09-29T17:06:59+00:00

GSTC-Recognized Standards are sustainable tourism standards that adhere to and are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria.

GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel, and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism and is administered by a standard owner that meets GSTC requirements. This means that the GSTC has verified that the standard aligns with the GSTC Criteria and that any additional clauses do not contradict GSTC Criteria requirements. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. A Certifying Body that utilizes a GSTC-Recognized standard may apply for GSTC-Accreditation which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process.

The following standards have been Recognized as aligned with the GSTC Criteria for Destinations.

Biosphere Responsible Tourism


Biosphere Responsible Tourism is an independent organization and its purpose is implementing actions and programs of sustainable development in the touristic industry. ITR follows the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, Rio 1992), and of the guidelines from several programs of the World Tourism Organization and UNESCO about sustainable development and cultural and natural heritage protection. ITR created and developed the Responsible Tourism System (STR), which is recognized by BIOSPHERE RESPONSIBLE TOURISM label. The STR promotes the sustainable touristic activities so that responsible tourism can be a specific touristic product.


EarthCheck Community Standard

EarthCheck 150x150

EarthCheck is an international environmental management and professional services group, which was established in 1987. EarthCheck products and services are used by all sectors of the travel and tourism industry across the world to guide their broader sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives. This includes guidance and advice on the design, construction and operation of tourism infrastructure. EarthCheck has access to world leading research, science and technology, providing a strong foundation to address the challenges facing the planet. Over the past 25 years, EarthCheck has delivered tourism solutions to destination, government, business and community clients.

In addition to being GSTC-Recognized, the EarthCheck Community Standard has also attained GSTC-Approved status.


Green Destinations Standard


The Green Destinations Standard is a system to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability of destinations and regions. It is owned by ECEAT, EUCC and Green Destinations. The Standard applies 100 criteria and 100 indicators. The Standard enables the creation of a SWOT, a quality profile, and a variety of thematic ratings. Status (quality), trends and policy are monitored over time. Global benchmarking is supported by a database on all countries and on 1200 destinations. The Standard can be used by any thematic program (e.g. for ecotourism) and is currently used by EUCC’s QualityCoast, QualityDestination certification, and the Slovenia Green destinations program.


Mountain IDEAL Destinations Standard

The Mountain IDEAL destination standard has been developed to address sustainability in mountain environments that include winter and summer activities.  These unique challenges and opportunities include issues like water and energy use related to snow making and snow melting systems, affordable housing for residents and seasonal employees, collaborating with public land managers and the business community, and embracing mountain cultural heritage. Sustainable Travel International, Walking Mountains Science Center, and other partners have collaborated on the development of the Mountain IDEAL destination standard.



Recognized Standards for Destinations – Country Specific

The following standards are adapted to match the situation of specific countries, and have been Recognized as aligned with the GSTC Criteria for Destinations.


Ecuador Sustainability Standards for Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have partnered to create standards for sustainability in the travel and tourism sector throughout Ecuador. The GSTC has conferred it’s mark of “Recognition” that Ecuador Sustainability Standards for Tourism adhere to the universal standards that the GSTC has developed for sustainability in travel and tourism.

“It definitely strengthens us to keep on working towards improving tourism practices in Ecuador, guided by [these] sustainable standards,” says Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo.


Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Destination Standard

The Sustainable Tourism Destination Standard for Indonesia (STD) was developed to guide the sustainable development of tourism destinations in Indonesia. Recognizing the growing demand for travel to its many appealing destinations, the Ministry of Tourism seeks sustainable development at each of them.

“The Sustainable Tourism Destination (STD) Standard will promote Indonesia as a hub and an epicentrum for sustainable tourism certification in ASEAN and Asia Pacific,” says Indonesian Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya. “The Ministry Of Tourism has already endorsed 20 regions to be designated as pilot projects for the STD Standard and has also endorsed STD Standard implementation in 10 priorities destinations.”


Korea Sustainable City Tourism Destination Standard

The Sustainable City Tourism Destination Standard for The Republic of Korea is designed to apply the GSTC Criteria as universal principles into the context of cities in South Korea. The Suwon City Tourism Bureau plans to apply the standards first to their own internal sustainability practices, then seek partners to apply the Standard to other cities throughout the country.