The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the release of the GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0, which had been under development for most of 2019.

GSTC Criteria serve as the global baseline 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. To date, two sets of GSTC Criteria have been developed: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria. 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; and (4) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes).

The GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0 is the first revision to GSTC Destination Criteria. The GSTC-D v2 includes performance indicators designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the Criteria. Application of the criteria will help a destination to contribute towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Against each of the Criteria, one or more of the 17 SDGs is identified, to which it most closely relates.

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. The process of developing the Criteria was designed to adhere to ISO codes of conduct and the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors.

In the revision process of the GSTC Destination Criteria in 2019, two public consultations took place with a wide call to the public to participate (call #1, call #2): 22,180 accumulative recipients of our newsletters, members’ bulletins, media/press list, and invitations to those specifically signed for updated about the GSTC Criteria Revision. This also includes a list of 177 NTOs and 135 Trade Association; 10,300 accumulative impressions on social media GSTC official pages (not including other shares in groups and by other organizations and individuals). These numbers do not include promotion by partners of GSTC such as PATA, WTTC, IUCN, etc.

The consultation process included  expert institutional support of the revisions for the sections of the Criteria relating to their expertise: WWF, IUCN, ECPAT, and ICOMOS, among others. The process also included a dedicated workshop at the GSTC2018 Global Conference in Botswana (150 delegates from 26 countries) – “Working Session on GSTC Destination Criteria Revision”; as well as a dedicated workshop at the 2019 GSTC Asia-Pacific Conference in Thailand (250 delegates from 25 countries) – “Working Session on GSTC Destination Criteria Revisions”. Both workshops had active and diverse participation that included government officials, private sector, and community-based organizations.

In the coming months, the Destination Criteria will be translated into many languages.