izmir joins GSTC (logos of Izmir and GSTC member logo over a landscape image background of Izmir, Türkiye)

İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has joined as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Situated on the western coast of Türkiye, Izmir serves as a prominent nexus in the Aegean region. Its historical roots, seen in sites like Ephesus and Pergamon, trace back to Greek and Roman times, adding a rich layer of antiquity to the city. 

Izmir’s downtown area, characterized by Konak Square and the bustling Kemeraltı Market, offers a blend of old and new, reflecting the city’s evolution through the ages. The coastal town also boasts a notable seafront promenade, the Kordon, providing an expansive outlook onto the Aegean Sea.

Sustainability in İzmir

The City joined EBRD’s Green Cities Framework in early 2019. The Green City Action Plan (GCAP) for Izmir aims to identify, prioritize and address the priority environmental challenges, and establish a vision and projects to enable a green future for the City. With its proposal of 46 actions that include infrastructure investments, policy measures, capacity development and advocacy, the proposal is designed to help achieve its vision for a green Izmir.

In 2020, by joining the Covenant of Mayors (CoM) and preparing and implementing a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP), Izmir Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), has voluntarily committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. 

The CoM signatories’ objectives to be achieved by 2030 are to: 

  • Reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% against the baseline year 
  • Increase climate resilience (i.e. develop a climate action plan)
  • Provide secure access to sustainable and affordable energy in a manner that is integrated with the mitigation and adaptation plans Izmir’s SECAP has been aligned with the development of its Green City Action Plan (GCAP) which aims to identify, prioritize and address the most pressing environmental challenges, aligning with IBB Strategic Plan Vision, enabling a future for Izmir that is more compatible with nature.

Also, the Global Climate Community of Izmir was established last May, a collective focused on furthering Izmir’s mission of becoming a Climate Neutral and Smart City to combat the global climate crisis.

Tunç Soyer, Mayor of İzmir said: “With this membership, İzmir took its first important step in the field of sustainable tourism. Works in harmony with nature and the environment will be introduced to the world as tourism elements. The interest in sustainable tourism is increasing in the world and the principles of sustainability in tourism have an important role in the choice of destinations. We acted proactively to become a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.”

GSTC Welcomes İzmir 

“We warmly welcome İzmir as a new member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Izmir’s commitment to sustainability reflects its deep respect for its historical richness and symbolizes an approach towards its emerging sustainable future” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in tourism development and management to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, which eventually can help achieve certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body

About İzmir Metropolitan Municipality

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality serves more than 4 million citizens within the borders of 30 districts. İzmir is a city with high tourism potential with its natural, cultural, and archaeological values. Izmir’s tourism strategy is based on the idea of “transporting many concepts, ideas, and approaches that shape world civilizations from Izmir to the world”. The main axis of Izmir tourism is that the city is located in the Mediterranean basin. It has been determined as historical, cultural, and archeological tourism that provides positive differentiation.

As the local administration of a city that has such a high tourism potential and the number of tourists is constantly increasing, Izmir needed regulation in its organizational structure. Accordingly, the Tourism Department was established in July 2019 to meet the needs of the tourism sector and work on behalf of tourism. The Tourism Department carries out its activities under the direction of the Foreign Relations and Tourism Department.

The Tourism Department continues to work to promote the city’s values, to promote attraction centers around the world, and to make the city a meeting center on a world scale. Different projects such as international fairs, tourism information offices, city tours, and mobile applications are carried out.

More information here: https://www.izmir.bel.tr/en/Home

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

Information for media and the press: www.gstcouncil.org/about/for-the-press/