GSTC-Recognized Standards are sustainable tourism standards that adhere to and are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. This means that the GSTC Criteria are included within the set of standards owned by a Certification Body or a local, national, or specialized tourism organization.

GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel, and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. 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 Destination Criteria
(visit here for GSTC-Recognized Standards for Hotels)
(visit here for GSTC-Recognized Standards for Tour Operators)

NOTE:

  • This is a list of standards.  GSTC has NOT analyzed the quality of the process of certification of these standards except those that have been accredited by GSTC.
  • 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.

Biosphere Responsible Tourism (ITR)

Biosphere Tourism is a standard by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI), an international organization that promotes, for more than 20 years, responsible tourism at an international level. For this, it has a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO, is a member of the UNWTO and promotes sustainable tourism on all fronts. Through the Biosphere brand, the RTI promotes Sustainable Development by measuring the contribution of tourism to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations and the indications of the Paris Agreement against Climate Change.

Criteria for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development

The Criteria for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development (CBT Thailand) has been used as an important tool for continuous planning, operating and evaluating outcome of community-based tourism development in Thailand. The criteria help to build immunity for communities to be aware of their capacity and development standpoint, so the community can strive to yield the benefits from tourism while strengthening their local resource management which is the foundation for “Sustainable Community-Based Tourism Development”.

EarthCheck Community Standard

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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. The standards is used in the GSTC-Accredited EarthCheck Certification.

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.

Green Destinations Standard

GREEN DESTINATIONS logo web

The Green Destinations Standard (GDS) is a comprehensive assessment & reporting system to evaluate, monitor and improve the quality and the sustainability of all destination types, e.g. towns, cities; protected areas; ecotourism, regional and country destinations. GDS is used by 250 destinations in Awards programs (incl. National Tourism Board Slovenia, QualityCoast, Sustainable Top 100, ITB Top 100 Awards) and GSTC-Accredited GD Certification. It applies criteria, management guidelines, and indicators. GDS supports strategic destination development, benchmarking, monitoring UN-SDG adherence, creating SWOT and project impact assessment, tourism quality profiles, and information supporting destination visibility, by Booking.com affiliate BookDifferent.com, Travelife for Tour Operators, and Viami.

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.”

Innovation Norway Sustainable Destination Standard

Innovation Norway’s Sustainable destination standard includes 45 criteria and 108 indicators to be measured, registered and monitored. The standard covers nature, culture, environment, social values, community involvement and economic viability. Measurable and continuous development are ensured through performance counts and renewing the brand every three years.

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.

Korean Ecotourism Standard for Destinations

The Korean Ecotourism Standard for Destinations has been developed to guide both public and private sectors to understand hands-on practices for sustainable ecotourism development and management and certify them so they can take a better position in the tourism market to distinguish them from any ecotourism products that may be guilty of “green-washing.”

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 snowmaking 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

Thailand’s Sustainable Tourism Management Standard

DASTA’s Thailand’s Sustainable Tourism Management Standard has been created for managing tourism and aims at helping all types and sizes of tourism-related organizations to manage tourism systematically and sustainably. It is expected to enable those related organizations to achieve a performance that is higher than the basic level required by law. These standards, therefore, can be challenging for organizations that want to improve the efficiency of their operation, leading to ’Sustainable Tourism.’

GSTC Criteria

The GSTC Criteria serve as the basis for determining whether other standards are “GSTC Recognized”. That means that by definition the GSTC Criteria can be considered “Recognized.” It also means that any Certification Body that uses the GSTC Criteria for their certification program is using a GSTC Recognized standard. Please note that GSTC Accredited means that a Certification Body uses the GSTC Criteria or another GSTC-Recognized set of standards to certify, AND has undergone a rigorous verification process by the GSTC to verify that their certification program is neutral and competent.