The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Hotel Sustainability Training for Industry Professionals, organized in partnership with Agoda and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), successfully concluded on May 31, 2024. This two-day training, held for the first time in Kathmandu, Nepal, aimed to equip hoteliers with the skills and knowledge necessary to implement sustainable tourism practices in line with GSTC Criteria, the global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The training, hosted at the Kathmandu Marriott Hotel, attracted 60 participants from various facets of the hospitality industry, ranging from independently owned and operated boutique hotels to domestic and international hotel chains, as well as representatives from the Hotel Association Nepal and the Nepal Tourism Board. The event provided an interactive platform for hoteliers to enhance their understanding of sustainable development, guided by GSTC trainers and esteemed guest speakers.

This marks the sixth training in collaboration between Agoda and GSTC and the second in partnership with USAID through the U.S. Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) project. It builds on the success of previous trainings held in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and India, which benefited over 300 hoteliers.

GSTC Hotel Sustainability Training in Nepal

Mr. Krishna Rathi, Country Director for India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives at Agoda, Ms. Judith Almodovar, Acting Director of the Economic Growth Office at USAID in Nepal, and Tek Bahadur Mahat, Chief Operating Officer of the Hotel Association Nepal, gave the opening remarks, along with Mr. CB Ramkumar, Vice Chair of GSTC.

“The response from Nepal to this training has been tremendous and the enthusiasm that I saw among the participants has been unprecedented. What impressed me most is the fact that all the participants were hungry – hungry for knowledge, hungry for taking their businesses to the next level and hungry for the country – this was very heartwarming for me as a trainer. This was a great first step for Nepal, and I hope they take this to the next level for their businesses and for the country,” said Mr. CB Ramkumar, Vice Chair of GSTC.

Judith Almodovar, Acting Economic Growth Director at USAID/Nepal, shared,It is critical to work in collaboration with the private sector to drive sustainable development progress, including mitigating climate change. We are proud to be part of this partnership with Agoda and GSTC to advance sustainable tourism and support the local economy after the economic impacts of COVID-19. Since 2022, USAID’s efforts in Nepal have resulted in significant contributions to tourism, including nearly $7 million in sales and over $11 million in new investments.”

Reflecting on the event, Boratay Uysal, CSR & Sustainability Senior Manager of Agoda, shared, “Facilitating the very first GSTC Hotel Sustainability Training in Nepal for our hotel partners and tourism stakeholders, as part of our partnership with USAID and GSTC, has been amazing. Both the eagerness to learn and the existing sustainability initiatives among the participants were truly inspiring. We are very happy with the outcome and look forward to ongoing collaboration in Nepal.”

Participants learned from best practices and real-world hotel case studies and were able to assess their current performance and establish short-, medium-, and long-term sustainability goals by utilizing a checklist based on the GSTC Hotel Criteria.

Upon successful course completion, participants receive a certificate of attendance and meet the training requirement for earning the GSTC Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism, which can be obtained through an online exam provided by the GSTC in the following four weeks of the training. US-SEGA, Sustainable Tourism Development Initiative partner, provides scholarships for participants to take the official GSTC Sustainable Tourism Exam. 

If you would like to contribute to the industry’s sustainable transformation, consider checking out GSTC’s upcoming courses here.