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, by a municipal, provincial, or national tourism authority, by specialized tourism organization, or by large tourism businesses with multiple business units.

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 Certification 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 Industry Criteria for Hotels and Accommodations
(visit here for GSTC-Recognized Standards for Tour Operators)
(visit here for GSTC-Recognized Standards for Destinations)

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.

Actively Green Standard

The Actively Green standard is the core component used in the Actively Green Sustainable Business Training and Certification Program. It was launched as an innovative legacy initiative of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA through a partnership with Sustainable Travel International and Town of Vail. Another component of the Program is the Mountain IDEAL destination standard for mountain resort communities.

Adventure Green Alaska Standards

Adventure Green Alaska began in 2007 as a statewide effort to grow sustainable tourism in Alaska and promote model businesses practicing economic, environmental and social sustainability. It is Alaska’s only sustainable tourism certification program and was created entirely by volunteers. The program came under the Alaska Travel Industry Association in 2015, whose goal was to grow the program in Alaska and increase the programs credibility through the development of a new level of standards, AGA Summit, that meet the GSTC Criteria for tour operators and accommodations.

Austrian Ecolabel for Tourism

The Austrian Ecolabel for Tourism and Leisure-time Industry was the first national eco-label for tourism worldwide. It was implemented in 1996 by the Austrian Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. Almost all types of tourism businesses can be awarded for their commitment in the fields of environmentally friendly management and social responsibility through independent third-party audits on site. The Ecolabel for tourist accommodation covers businesses of any size fulfilling an advanced set of criteria developed and regularly updated in a comprehensive stakeholder process involving tourism as well as environmental experts.

Biosphere Responsible Tourism Standard

Biosphere Tourism is a standard by the Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI), an international organization that has been promoting for more than 20 years responsible tourism at an international level. 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.

Costa Rica Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST)

The Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), established by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute in 1997, was created to provide guidelines for hotel properties and service providers to build their business model based on the best sustainable tourism practices – the management and impact of the natural, cultural and social resources of the country. The criteria and indicators that are valued to award certification include: business management; social, cultural and economic management; environmental management; and the management of specific indicators according to category. More information on the CST program.

Chile Sistema de Distinción en Turismo Sustentable (SERNATUR)

The Chilean national system for distinction of sustainable tourism recognize the efforts of tourist accommodation that have progressed in any field of sustainability, differentiating its members over their competitors while ensuring visitors each organization’s commitment to sustainability.

EarthCheck Company Standard

The purpose of the EarthCheck Company Standard is to provide organisations with a framework for environmental and social sustainability. This Standard includes requirements specific to other management systems, such as quality, environment, occupational health and safety, risk management and corporate social reporting, and its elements can be integrated with those of other management systems. The Standard ensures a high level of alignment to ISO14001, ISO50001, ISO26000, ISO9001, the GRI, the HCMI, the SDGs, and the GSTC Criteria.

EarthCheck Evaluate Standard

EarthCheck Evaluate assesses an operator’s economic, social and environmental impact. The program is the product of 15 years of market research and experience through EarthCheck’s flagship program, EarthCheck Certified, which has helped clients across 70 countries realize more than $500 million in savings. EarthCheck Evaluate uses internationally recognized criteria to report on management performance covering a wide range of areas including environment, risk and quality management.

Eco-Certification Malta Standard

The ECO Certification is Malta’s national scheme for ensuring the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural sustainability of hotels and farmhouses on the Maltese Islands. The scheme was launched by the Malta Tourism Authority in 2002. The criteria were updated in 2008, 2012 and again in 2019. The new criteria follow a shift from an environmental scheme to a sustainable scheme covering environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality and health & safety. The main areas covered by the current criteria are: Sustainability management systems; Waste management; Purchasing; Control of chemicals; Energy; Water; Air quality; Noise; Building and green areas; Local culture & national surroundings; and Communication with customers.

Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Certification Standard

Ecotourism Australia‘s ECO Certification program has been around since 1996. ECO Certification was created by industry for industry, with collaboration and consultation by academics, industry experts, environmental scientists and tourism operators.

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Ecotourism Kenya Standard for Tourism Accommodation Facilities

The Ecotourism Kenya Eco-rating Certification Scheme is designed to certify as sustainable accommodations of various types throughout Kenya. This is part of Ecotourism Kenya’s efforts to make nature- and wildlife-based tourism more and more sustainable by applying localized standards that adhere to the universal principles included within the GSTC Criteria.

European Ecotourism Labeling Standard (EETLS)

EETLS – the European Ecotourism Labelling Standard – is a baseline quality standard developed along the lines of the GSTC Criteria, for European Ecotourism. The EETLS is the result of a lengthy development and consultation process that documented international best practice leading to a set of criteria and indicators that are suitable for ensuring quality of ecotourism services. The EETLS aims to provide a Europe-wide dimension of ecotourism quality certification, offering the possibility for an EETLS-compliance sign integrated in the existing labels. The first version of the EETLS was developed under the ECO-DESTINET project, co-funded by the LLP-Leonardo programme of the European Commission, and has been revised by the ECOLNET team. Among the project partners, PRISMA and the affiliated NGO Hellenic Ecotourism Society use standards based on EETLS (EETLS-GR 2nd) which is the current GSTC-Recognized Standard.

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Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER)

The Long Run’s Global Ecosphere Retreats® (GER) standard covers all 4C (conservation, community, culture and commerce) aspects of sustainability in tourism with equal weight. The standard is a vehicle to support nature-based tourism businesses’ in their journey of continuous improvement. Likewise, it is not only about businesses merely mitigating their negative environmental impacts but about positively impacting the well-being of the planet and the people.

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GREAT Green Deal Certification

The GREAT Green Deal Sustainable Certification Program (GGD) represents a way of doing business while taking care of all stakeholders involved in the tourism operations. The GGD standard has more than 400 indicators that provide hotel and tour operators a map that takes executives and entrepreneurs on a path to be more successful in their business while being responsible with employees and their families, the community, the cultural heritage and traditions including the environment.

Green Globe Standard

The Green Globe Standard has been developed and improved over the past 25 years and includes 44 core criteria supported by over 380 compliance indicators. The applicable indicators vary by type of certification, geographical area as well as local factors. The entire Green Globe Standard is reviewed and updated twice per calendar year. Green Globe is active in harmonizing with other established sustainability certification programs around the world. The process of harmonization contributes to maintaining core criteria and at the same time addresses regional issues through the adoption of locally developed standards. The Green Globe Standard is based on the following international standards and agreements: GSTC Criteria; Baseline Criteria of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas; Agenda 21 and principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 Governments at the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992; ISO 9001 / 14001 / 19011.

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Green Growth 2050 Standard

Green Growth 2050 has been developed to meet the needs of tourism and travel businesses seeking today’s solutions to the issues driving social, cultural and environmental change. The Green Growth 2050 Global Standard and Sustainability Reporting Framework is an international online solution designed to allow travel and tourism organisations to assess the overall sustainability and CSR performance of their existing individual properties and portfolios.

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Green Key Criteria

The Green Key award is a leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. This prestigious eco-label represents a commitment by businesses that their premises adhere to the strict criteria set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). A Green Key stands for the promise to its guests that by opting to stay with the Green Key establishment, they are helping to make a difference on an environmental level. Green Key is a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3,200 hotels and other establishments in 65 countries

Green Key Eco-Rating

Green Key Global is a leading international environmental certification body offering a suite of sustainability programs designed specifically for the lodging industry. For more than 20 years its flagship program, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, has been evaluating, auditing and certifying lodging properties based on their commitment to sustainable operations. In support of this, Green Key Global also works diligently to educate members on the value these initiatives have on an environmental, social, cultural and economic level. An affordable, comprehensive assessment for independent and branded properties of all sizes, the Green Key Program strives to inspire and complement ongoing CSR activities of its members.

Green Star Hotel Standard

The Green Star Hotel Certificate for tourist’s accommodation businesses is awarded to tourist accommodations in Egypt for their commitment in the field of environmentally friendly management and social responsibility. The Green Star Hotel Certification Programme is a national certification and capacity building programme under the patronage of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. It has been developed as a public private project between the key stakeholders from the German and Egyptian tourism market , the Egyptian tourism authorities and the German International Cooperation to enhance the quality and environmental awareness and raise the competiveness and environmental performance of the Egyptian tourist accommodation industry. By starting with the key sector in the Egyptian tourism industry, the hotel sector, a first step is taken to move the whole tourism sector towards more sustainability. On the long run, other sectors such as cruise ships and diving should follow.

GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Standard

GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism standard is part of their broader Sustainable Tourism 2030 initiative, which provides programs and services for destinations, tourism businesses, and accommodation providers. The Sustainable Tourism standard enables tourism businesses and accommodations to measure their sustainability performance in several key categories; management, social, economic, natural, cultural, and environmental.

Green Tourism Active Standard

Green Tourism Active (GT-Active) is a global sustainability assessment and certification organisation. The GTA certification programs offer a forward thinking and leading global standard with in-depth focus on environmental, socio-economic, cultural and conservation performance and compliance in accordance with rigorous GSTC criteria and leading international developments. GTA focusses on sustainable travel and tourism partners and destinations.

Greenview Portal

The Greenview Portal is an industry-specific system developed by Singapore-based consultancy Greenview that allows hotel companies to track, measure and improve in areas of environmental sustainability and social responsibility at property or multi-site level. The online platform allows hotel owners, operators, and affiliations to track, benchmark, report and improve on various aspects of environmental and social performance. Greenview Portal is a GSTC-Recognized system.

Hilton LightStay

LightStay is Hilton’s proprietary social and environmental performance measurement platform underpinning Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s global corporate responsibility strategy. It was developed to calculate and analyze the environmental and societal impact of every Hilton branded hotel in their operations and communities. The platform tracks energy, water, waste, and carbon data, as well as social impact like local sourcing, youth training or volunteering hours, and operational best practices and sustainability recognitions. Through the use of LightStay, every property in Hilton’s portfolio is certified to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management).

Hostelling International’s Quality and Sustainability Standard

Hostelling International, and its member associations commit to intensifying their efforts to achieve a worldwide network of sustainable organisations and hostels. In line with its internationally adopted sustainability charter, HI has developed HI-Q&S (Hostelling International Quality & Sustainability), a label that stands for a commitment to provide an experience of high quality, with a positive effect on local economy, communities and the environment. The accreditation is based on assessment criteria aiming to: demonstrate effective sustainable management; maximise social and economic benefits to the local community, cultural heritage and environment and minimise negative impacts; conserve biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes. The HI-Q&S standards engage hostellers in a viable, equitable and bearable way of travelling that supports HI’s values of authenticity, inclusivity, learning and understanding and sustainability.

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Hoteles más Verdes (AHT) Standard

Hoteles más Verdes (“Greener Hotels”) is the Sustainability Certification Program of the Asociación de Hoteles de Turismo de Argentina (AHT) that promotes the adoption of sustainable tourism good practices in the hospitality industry since 2010.The program certifies with the Eco-label “Hoteles más Verdes” those hotel companies that prove by auditing good practices of ethical, environmental and socially responsible management with its stakeholders and the host community of the destinations of Argentina.

Asian Ecotourism Standard for Accommodations (AESA)

The stated scope of AESA is ecolodges and ecoresorts or nature-based lodges in the Asia Pacific. The standard is designed to help identify the authentic ecotourism lodging industry among others who claim they are ‘eco’ and guide Asia Pacific to realize SDGs with evidence while raising happiness index for both visitors and visited. Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) is a registered not-for-profit trade association based in Bangkok Thailand with 5 country satellite offices in India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Philippines. The board comprises 17 countries in Asia and Pacific that makes AEN a unique network. It is a sub-global network of Global Ecotourism Network.

Korean Ecotourism Standard for Accommodations and Tours

The Korean Ecotourism Standard for Accommodations and Tours 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.”

Mauritian Standard on Sustainable Tourism: Blue Oasis

The Mauritian Standard on Sustainable Tourism (MS 165:2019), Blue Oasis, was developed to guide the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Mauritius.The focus of the Sustainability Tourism Standard is to address requirements of the environmental impacts and its effect on land, air, water and other organism and ecosystem of the island. The social-cultural impacts that affect local communities, social structure and cultures as well as economic impacts categorised as direct, indirect or induced. These requirements to be measured, monitored and evaluated for continual improvement of the sustainability of the tourism industry in Mauritius.

NEPCon Sustainable Tourism Standard for Accommodation

The NEPCon Sustainable Tourism Standard for Accommodations is an improved version of the former Rainforest Alliance sustainable tourism standard that is divided in three fields designed to assess any tourism organization’s performance regarding their business, sociocultural and environmental practices. The NEPCon Sustainable Tourism Standard for Accommodations is structured around these objectives: That the biodiversity and ecosystems of tourist destinations are preserved through the implementation of environmental management systems that protect the integrity of ecosystems, promote the rational use of natural resources, the protection of biodiversity and the mitigation of various negative impacts, including those derived from climate change; That the social and cultural development of the communities involved in tourist activities improve, by reinforcing, the economic activities that they are involved in, and as a result, their livelihoods; That tourism activities are carried out fully respecting and appreciating all the local cultural expressions, while at the same time protecting and emphasizing the importance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) Criteria

The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label which is a certification programme aims to enhance the quality and sustainability of visitors’ experiences by mitigating tourism’s negative economic, environmental and social impacts on the destination and contributing to the preservation of natural and cultural treasures for the future generations of Seychelles.

Sustainable Travel Ireland – GSTC Industry Criteria

Sustainable Travel Ireland, formerly Ecotourism Ireland, is Ireland’s leading and longest-running body for the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism, training and certifying businesses for over 10 years. Founded in 2009, Ecotourism Ireland set out to develop ecotourism in Ireland, and to highlight the best of what the country had to offer whilst ensuring its heritage and environment were preserved for this and future generations. Today, Sustainable Travel Ireland has the same mission but broader, aiming to drive the development of a new, sustainable model for ALL tourism in Ireland, and has formally adopted the GSTC Industry Criteria to be used in Ireland by accommodations and tour operators.

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TOFTigers Initiative’s Pug mark Eco Certification

The India & South Asian based nature tourism focused organisation, TOFTigers has its PUG Eco- rating certification recognised as a part of its attempts to help use the booming market in nature tourism across India and South Asia as a tool for conservation of forest and wildlife, including tigers. Alongside over 220 of the world’s best known tour operators, agents and lodge members, its promotes a purchasing supply chain campaign to promote better tourism, better training and better monitoring and advises Governments, States, parks, providers and visitors on best practice in nature tourism, to ensure a fair and equitable future for nature, visitors and bordering park communities.

Travelife Standard for Hotels & Accommodations

The Travelife for Hotels & Accommodations international certification scheme works with its members to increase their sustainability. The Travelife criteria cover environmental, social and economic business impacts, and a hotel’s success in meeting these criteria is assessed by independent auditors. Hotels meeting the Travelife standard can promote their business with the Travelife ‘Gold’ and ‘Award of Excellence’ certification marks, helping consumers easily identify more sustainable accommodation.