Innovation Norway Sustainable Destination Standard is Now a GSTC-Recognized Standard

June 7, 2018 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that Innovation Norway’s Sustainable Destination Standard has achieved the ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

Innovation Norway’s Sustainable destination standard includes 45 criteria and 108 indicators to be measured, registered and monitored. The standard covers nature, culture, environment, social values, community involvement and economic viability. Measurable and continuous development are ensured through performance counts and renewing the brand every three years.

Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. 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. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

“The great commitment around the branding scheme ‘Sustainable Destination’ shows that Norwegian tourism destinations take sustainable development seriously. Through cooperation with other sectors of the business community and municipalities, tourism industry can thus be a positive contributor to value creation and jobs locally”, says Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry. “The international recognition of the standard used in our branding scheme ensures a high level of the work”.

“We are proud to have Innovation Norway Sustainable Destination Standard joining the selected group of GSTC Recognized standards. Innovation Norway is a leader in promoting sustainability in tourism as well as in many other sectors at a national level, providing an excellent example for others to follow,” says Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chair.

Once a destination is chosen, Innovation Norway applies the standard through a series of implementation and monitoring methods. Then, a committed resolution is formed by the municipal council to support sustainable development in tourism and similar commitments are made by the tourism operators. After that, the implementation of the standard can occur. This includes tasks like establishing internal transport, energy saving initiatives, local food and cultural projects, signposts and building recreation trails. Jointly, a monitoring process occurs that includes documenting the overall use of local food, local culture, energy, waste production, and cultural assets in the destination. The entire process takes approximately two years.

To date, 10 destination standards, and 30 hotels and tour operators 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 a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.

The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria.

GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs. Learn more about GSTC Accreditation.


About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation. The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all strive to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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About Innovation Norway

Innovation Norway, owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries (51%) and the county authorities (49%) is the Norwegian Government’s most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. We support companies in developing their competitive advantage and enhance innovation. Travel and tourism sector is one of the important industries in our portfolio, and we support and take part in the development in the industry by providing funding, analysis and surveys, advisory service, networks and programs, training and profiling in international markets. Innovation Norway owns and manages the official tourism brand Visit Norway.