February 11, 2016 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that Hostelling International’s Quality & Sustainability Standard has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized’ status. The awarded status affirms Hostelling International’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.
In line with its internationally adopted Sustainability Charter, Hostelling International 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. Their certification 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.
GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel in order to be deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to recognize and reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.
“With this GSTC-Recognized status, Hostelling International joins the ranks of standards that proudly proclaim that they include the full range of elements that go into what is meant by “sustainability” in travel and tourism. This is accomplished by proving their standard’s adherence to the global baseline standard; namely the GSTC Criteria,” says GSTC CEO Randy Durband.
“Being recognised by the GSTC is a huge accolade and shows that our practices and advice on sustainable tourism is world class. Not only are we promoting practices to our network that are good for planet and humanity, but is is in line with our mission and provides a great service to our National Associations. I’m proud of this achievement and the work Brianda Lopez and Jurgen Gross together with the pilot hostels have done to achieve this,” said Darren Barker, HI CEO.
To date, 23 standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market benefit of proof that these national standards adhere to international norms.
The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition, Approval & Accreditation of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Approved or Accreditation process in order to showcase excellence in their sustainability frameworks while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs.
About the GSTC
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is a global initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism efforts around the world. The GSTC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that works to expand understanding of and access to sustainable tourism practices; helps identify and generate markets for sustainable tourism; and educates about and advocates for a set of universal principles, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The Criteria, a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for the sustainability of tourism businesses across the globe, is the cornerstone of our initiative. For more information, visit www.gstcouncil.org.
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About Hostelling International
Hostelling International (HI) is a non-governmental, non-profit, member organisation founded on an enduring belief in the power of travel to foster a deeper understanding of people, places, and the world around us. Our commitment is to promote a dynamic community of young global citizens who wish to actively make the world a better place. For over 100 years, Hostelling International has provided a network of unique affordable accommodation across the world.
HI represents 64 Member Associations and 2 Associate Organisations.
HI is a chairman of the Board of Affiliate Members of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The HI network represents 4,000 hostels in 84 countries.
With nearly four million members, HI is one of the world’s largest youth membership organisations and is the only global network of Youth Hostel Associations.