GSTC Partners with Agoda and the Government of Goa to Promote More Sustainable Tourism in India
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) collaborated with Digital travel platform Agoda and the Government of Goa to organize a Hotel Sustainability Training for industry professionals from November 28 to 29, 2023, at Park Regis, Goa, India. This two-day program brought together local hoteliers for a series of sessions led by influential industry experts, aiming to provide them with the competences and tools necessary to enhance their sustainability practices.
Throughout the training, participants immersed themselves in real-world insights drawn from best-in-class sustainability practices and actual hotel case studies. The training covered the sustainable management, socio-economic, cultural, and environmental impact. Using as a checklist the GSTC Industry Criteria for hotels, globally recognized as a standard for sustainability in travel and tourism, attendees were empowered to assess their current performance and then set achievable short-, medium-, and long-term sustainability objectives.
The training was led by Mr. CB Ramkumar, GSTC Vice Chair along with Mr. Rajesh Nambiar, GSTC Trainer.
“Goa is an important tourism market for India, and it was fortuitous that Agoda started its thrust in India with the first training for the country from this state. The strong belief that sustainability has to be built into strategic plans for hotels, was expressed in the various discussions by the hoteliers. This translated into a healthy participation in the training from the hoteliers and Goa Tourism Development Corporation officers who were part of the training. The energetic, involved and meaningful discussions during the training, combined with the participants responding actively to the practical application-nature of the GSTC Hotels Criteria, resulted in a vibrant two day training. Hoteliers in the country have a strong intent to undertake the journey into sustainable tourism, but need a framework to work with, and the GSTC Industry Criteria delivers this framework. GSTC working with strong collaborators like Agoda will now contribute immensely to the sustainable tourism aspirations for India,”said Mr. CB Ramkumar, GSTC Vice Chair and GSTC Trainer.
Krishna Rathi, Agoda Country Director India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives, sharing his views on the initiative, said “We are honored to announce our partnership with the Government of Goa and the GSTC for the inaugural session of our hotel sustainability training program in India. This initiative, a modest yet pivotal step, aligns with the Goa Roadmap and ‘Travel for LiFE,’ contributing to our collective vision of a positive impact. Agoda is committed to fostering responsible connections between people and destinations. Embracing sustainable practices is more crucial than ever for a more sustainable future in the hospitality industry. With the right knowledge and tools, we aim to accelerate this evolution.”
Mr. Suneel Anchipaka, Director of Tourism (Goa), at the opening ceremony of the training, said “Our government has made sustainable tourism a top priority, and this initiative by Agoda aligns seamlessly with our vision. By equipping hotel professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt sustainable practices, we can create a more responsible and resilient tourism industry in Goa. I encourage all hotel professionals to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about sustainable tourism practices and incorporate them into your daily operations.”
To date, over two hundred hoteliers have taken part in the program during previous editions in Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Among the attendees for the inaugural edition in Goa were general managers and senior executives from hotels including Accor, Kenilworth Resort & Spa, Park Regis Goa, and Radisson Goa Candolim.