GSTC Members can join members-only webinars, that share the most up-to-date knowledge on sustainable tourism. The webinars are presented by GSTC staff and GSTC Members.

All webinars are recorded and are available for GSTC Members to watch after logging into the GSTC website (email/user name and password needed).

We encourage members to take advantage of the various education and training opportunities available through the GSTC, and to continue seeking knowledge and tools to improve your sustainable tourism practices.

2021 Webinar Recordings

European Travel Commission (ETC), representing 32 national tourism organisations in Europe, has published a new handbook ‘Sustainable Tourism Implementation: Framework and Toolkit’ – an ultimate roadmap for European destinations on how to tackle every step on a journey towards sustainable transformation.

This handbook is for European National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), to support efforts to develop national approaches that advance sustainable tourism. It is intended as a practical document to aid implementation, for all European nations regardless of where they are on their sustainability journey. It is intended to support both those NTOs considering a national certification scheme, and those who are not, to advance national efforts to improve sustainability outcomes.


  • Jennifer Iduh, Head of Research, European Travel Commission
  • Jana Apih, Director, GoodPlace Institute
  • Ben Lynam, Head of Communication, The Travel Foundation
  • Rachel McCaffery, Directory, Green Case Consulting

Swisstainable is the first big step towards securing the long-term success of Switzerland as a holiday, travel and convention destination and making it the world’s most sustainable destination. As part of the Swisstainable programme, sustainable service providers will be awarded an emblem and thus act as role models. The Swisstainable emblem visibly communicates a commitment to sustainability in the industry in a succinct manner. It is designed in such a way that it can be easily integrated into the communication of all service providers. The sustainability programme is for everyone. Guests looking for sustainable offers are often lost in the vast landscape of labels. Swisstainable does not intend to be yet another certification, but rather to provide guidance for guests, using existing standards.


  • Samuel Wille, Interim Head of Business Development, Switzerland Tourism
  • Helena Videtic, Sustainability Manager, Switzerland Tourism

Increasingly, travelers prefer sustainable hotels and travel provider clients are seeking confirmation that sustainability practices are in place. The GSTC Industry Criteria with suggested performance indicators for hotels serve as basic guidelines for hotels to become more sustainable, and eventually allow these hotels to seek certification as being sustainable hotels.

Ahead of the first GSTC Sustainable Hotel online course during May 27th – June 11th, Dr. David Ermen will present key issues hoteliers should focus on beyond plastic straws and reusing towels. The session will be moderated by Ayako Ezaki, GSTC Training Director.

Presenter: Samantha Kenny, Program Officer – Food Waste, WWF USA

In the US, about 63 million tons of food are wasted each year, with 40% coming from consumer-facing business, including restaurants and hotels. This waste occurs while 41 million Americans, including 13 million children, are food insecure, and it poses one of the biggest environmental threats to the planet. Reducing food waste is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of our food system and feed our communities.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, came together to work with the hospitality industry on understanding and reducing food waste. Through research and a series of demonstration projects with properties across the country, innovative strategies were identified to engage staff, partners and guests in cutting waste from hotel kitchens. Participating hotels saw reductions of 10-38% in just 12 weeks. If this scaled across the industry – it would eliminate half a million tons of waste within a year. “Fighting Food Waste in Hotels” Toolkit by WWF

Business travel is a segment within the tourism industry focusing on visitors who travel for business and professional purposes. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the share of GDP generated by the business travel market reached 0.7 percent in 2019. In that year, the business tourism spending worldwide – which has more than doubled since 2000 – peaked at roughly 1.28 trillion U.S. dollars. Business travel is an important factor in national and international business. However, it also has a negative effect on our environment.

Sustainable business travel is concerned with managing the costs, social impacts and environmental consequences generated by the use of different modes of business travel. Using the GSTC Criteria as a reference point allows corporates and organizations to improve their commercial performance and enhance their reputation by adopting sustainable working policies and practices.

Ahead of the first cohort of the GSTC Sustainable Business Travel Course (May 27 – June 11, 2021), Horst Bayer and Bernard Harrop will share key trends and applicable examples. This public webinar will be moderated by Roi Ariel, GSTC General Manager.

Webinar organized by Destinations Together

This session will round out our 4-part series on sustainable tourism by looking at contemporary approaches for more sustainable hotels. As with previous sessions on destinations and tour operators, we’ll consider the valuable role of applying the GSTC Criteria to the hotel industry. Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, will lead this session along with Ian Corbett, TUI Group Sustainable Business Manager on the cutting edge of hotel sustainability. GSTC works with members that include Hilton, IHG, TUI Group Hotels, and many other hotels, plus buyers and sellers of hotel space seeking sustainable solutions including OTA’s such as and tour operators such as Canada’s Transat. Hotels are in many ways core building blocks of visitor experiences, our homes away from home. There is much being done and can be done to make those deep experiences more responsible and sustainable. Join us for a discussion of key strategies taken by hotels and their distribution networks to operate and communicate sustainability.

Destinations Together

Webinar organized by Destinations Together

Destination Stewardship is a multi-stakeholder approach to establish and maintain the cultural, environmental, economic, and aesthetic integrity of a destination. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Criteria for Destinations define how communities and visitors can maximize the many benefits from tourism while minimizing negative impacts on destination resources and ways of life. Kathleen Pittman, President of Agile Community Partners and a core member of the GSTC team, will share how local communities, government agencies, NGOs, and the tourism industry can form meaningful partnerships to develop and manage tourism sustainably. St Kitts is an example of a destination that has been working for years to adopt the GSTC Criteria for Destinations, including establishing a multi-sector Destination Stewardship Council. Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Permanent Secretary of the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, will provide a firsthand account of St. Kitts’s ongoing sustainable tourism journey. Then, focusing at the community level, Jamie Sweeting, President of Planeterra will share how his non-profit organization works with the local population to develop compelling tourism experiences. Through grants and training, they help community business earn income from tourism. In addition, they have also created a robust global tourism community network to share experiences & successes. Cruise lines are keen to offer these unique tours that elevate the local community, and Planeterra has an effective formula to develop them. This session will feature examples of destination stewardship and sustainability in action!

Destinations Together

Presenter: Rob Rankin, Managing Director, Sustainable Travel Ireland

In this session, Rob will share examples and lessons based on his experience working with businesses, communities and destination organizations in Ireland, promoting sustainable practices in collaboration with various stakeholder groups.

Webinar organized by Destinations Together

Cruise lines and CLIA are making meaningful, long term commitments to sustainable tourism following the GSTC standards, to help ensure the world’s natural and touristic sites are preserved for future generations. As tour operators, you too can make a real difference for your destination by starting the process of certification to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards. Naut Kusters, General Manager, Travelife for Tour Operators will detail the certification process. In addition, Trino Molina Casares of Aviomar – Mexico and Emma Bell of ID Tours – New Zealand will share their experience to obtain GSTC certification through Travelife. Tour Operators attending this session will receive access to key sustainability materials upon registration with Travelife. The travel sector in general, and the cruise industry in particular are clearly focused on sustainability likewise, tour operators that are in the process of GSTC certification may likely be rewarded in the post-pandemic tourism environment. Start today and do your part to help make your destination more sustainable and more marketable in the future.

Destinations TogetherTravelife

Webinar organized by Destinations Together

The cruise industry is developing plans to resume cruise operations in a post-pandemic environment. Just as guest and crew safety is key to the cruise restart, so too is the protection and management of cruise destinations. Much progress has been made in the tourism sector regarding sustainability. The industry and destinations should continue working collaboratively with GSTC to prioritize the preservation of natural assets and cultural heritage, ensuring that sustainability remains on the agenda and in the budget. Randy Durband, CEO of Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) will provide an overview of sustainable tourism and, discuss the impact of the pandemic as well as a vision for the future. He will moderate a panel featuring Rob Zeiger, Global Chief Communications Officer, Royal Caribbean Group and Ukko Metsola, Director General, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe. Learn how Royal Caribbean has led meaningful change by working with tour operators to obtain GSTC certification, sponsored sustainable destination stewardship and changed seafood purchasing standards to make a real difference. MSC has also made similar commitments to help support sustainable tourism. Likewise, CLIA is providing ongoing leadership to accelerate the sustainable tourism agenda for the cruise industry. This is the first session of our 2021 Sustainable Tourism Webinar Series – learn how you and your company can make a difference for your destination, the oceans and the world!

Destinations Together


  • Alexandra Michat Roux, EXO Foundation Manager & EXO Travel Director of Sustainability
  • Nia Klatte, Khiri Reach Executive Director & Khiri Travel Regional Sustainability Coordinator

Alexandra and Nia will give examples on how inboud tour operators (DMCs) collaborate to advance sustainability adherence within destinations they work in:

  • IMPACT Vietnam, an initiative led by GSTC Members EXO Travel and Khiri Travel, is a network of committed tourism operators working for the promotion of sustainable tourism in Vietnam. “We aim to work closely within our supply chains and with various stakeholders around the country, engaging and encouraging partnerships whenever possible. We know where our strengths lie and as a collaborative group, IMPACT Vietnam will reduce the negative and increase the positive impact that we as members of the travel industry have on the country that we work in, live in and promote.”
  • The Indonesian DMC Sustainability Collaboration (IDSC) was initiated by DMCs working in Indonesia working together to collect data from their suppliers. The basic idea of IDSC is to collect data on the application of sustainability and health & safety principles throughout their business practices. The Collaboration designed a comprehensive set of questions and attached to it a comprehensive and easy to read scoring model.
  • CAM-DMC is an association consisting of 17 Destination Management Companies (DMC), working in Cambodia for guests from the Western markets.

Presenter: Jason Lin, Founder & CEO, Talent Basket

Making the tourism industry sustainable is a long-term process involving optimal usage of environmental, economic, and social resources. During this session, the speaker will share insights on how young digital talents worldwide will change the models that drive businesses and the impact of Sustainable Supply chain management.

Jason is a serial entrepreneur who aspires to create a global working and living movement that promotes balance, inclusion, and sustainability. Jason is the founder and CEO of Talent Basket, a digital consultancy and talent company made up of global citizens. Jason spearheads a roster of more than 1,000 Gen Z talents across 30 countries, speaking 11 languages, specializing in marketing, analytics, and creative skills. Under Jason’s leadership, the talents come together to work on digital business solutions, destination development, and sustainable movement advocacy for governments, NGOs, multinational corporations, and small to mid-sized businesses.


GSTC 2020 Online Members Meeting: Recordings

Every year, GSTC holds a professional conference focusing on sustainable tourism, standards, certifications, and the GSTC Criteria. The themes are different each year, with changing focus on different sustainability aspects from the GSTC Criteria.

The GSTC 2020 Online Members Meeting is 3-hour long and includes important developments, examples of how the GSTC framework is being applied, and an open guided discussion.

Recording available here

Presenters: Patricia Plesner Arnsted, Sustainability Project Manager,

EcoHotels was founded in 2020, as a responsible and sustainable alternative to the large and dominant online travel agencies (OTAs). EcoHotels’ mission is to be a community for hotels, sharing knowledge and best practices, and standing side by side to promote sustainability in the travel industry. “We ensure that only truly dedicated and certified hotels are on our site – at the same time, we understand that sustainability has many faces and that each hotel may have its own approach to sustainability, prioritizing what lies closest to their hearts. There are many certifications out there, and some are more intense than others (and some are just greenwashing, as we’re sure you agree). So we have decided to use the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s framework. Being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body or being certified to a GSTC-Recognized Standard will be the gateway to joining our site.”

Presenter: Catie Burlando and Federico Pinato of Etifor

With more frequent and more severe extreme events, the consequences of the climate crisis are affecting people and businesses alike and the touristic sector, in Italy, has not been spared by the fury of such events: in October 2018, Vaia storm destroyed thousands of hectares of forests of the most famous mountain touristic destinations in the north-east of Italy; one year before, in November 2019, Venice was flooded by an exceptionally high tide that none of the inhabitants had seen.

Catie Burlando and Federico Pinato of Etifor – a spin-off of the University of Padova whose mission is to restore the balance between people and nature – will share insights and lesson learned from their work with two tourist destinations in Italy: Valsugana-Lagorai (a certified sustainable destination to the GSTC Criteria) and Alta Badia.

Presenter: Albert Salman, President, Green Destinations

From Oct 6 to Oct 9, 2020, the 5th Global Green Destinations Days (GGDD) will take place. Albert Salman, President of Green Destinations (GSTC-Accredited Certification Body) will share insights from the event with a focus on examples of good practices and opportunities for destination managers in times of Covid19.

Presenter: Emiliano Mastelli, Technical Coordinator of Hoteles mas Verdes

Desde hace diez años la Asociación de Hoteles de Turismo de la República Argentina viene trabajando para incluir la sustentabilidad dentro de la agenda turística del país. Con ese propósito ha creado el Programa Hoteles más Verdes cuyo objetivo es unificar criterios de sustentabilidad en un país extenso y con un oferta turística diversa. Aún con alguna crisis económica en el camino, se mantuvo un crecimiento constante hasta el desafío actual de la pandemia mundial; teniendo que adaptarse a la nueva realidad y aprovechando sus oportunidades.

Presenter: Alexandra Michat Roux, EXO Foundation Manager & EXO Travel Director of Sustainability

How can DMCs influence hotels and other travel suppliers to become more sustainable? Alexandra of EXO Travel will share how EXO is working to influence its suppliers (hotels, restaurants, etc.) to choose a more sustainable path. When EXO Travel contract suppliers, they ask them to sign EXO’s sustainability addendum. It includes main requirements regarding sustainability (both ethics & environmental protection) & health/safety. This has already been signed by 619 partner hotels. In 2019, EXO released a new version that includes a request for hotels to set-up refillable water stations for guests. EXO Sustainability Guide 2019-2020

Presenter: Peter Reelfs, Sustainability Advisor & Lecturer, NorthFlash

Every tenth tourist stated at TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer 2017/18 “event” was the reason for their last trip. Events are also a common tool used by tourist destinations to attract visitors and extend the season. For tourism companies and destinations that work sustainably and organize events, it is therefore only logical to also pay attention to sustainability in events, as the ecological and social footprint of an event can be immense. This webinar is about identifying the sources of the impact and how to minimize negative consequences.

Presenter: Karen Valenti, Program Manager, KPAP

KPAP raises public awareness regarding the proper treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro, assists climbing companies with implementing procedures that ensure fair and ethical treatment of their porters, lends climbing gear free of charge, and offers educational classes to empower and motivate porters and mountain crew.

Presenters: Jerry R. Spooner, Director, Vanuatu Department of Tourism

Vanuatu has developed a Tourism Crisis Response & Recovery Plan to tackle the effects from Cyclone Harold and COVID19. The five core pillars in phase 1 of the Recovery Plan include health, access, product, marketing and comms. The Plan can be downloaded here:

Presenter: Martin Heng, Inclusive Travel Specialist

The concept of inclusive travel is an integral part of sustainable tourism where services should be provided for all people. Accessibility is a central element of any responsible and sustainable development policy. It is both a human rights imperative, as well as an exceptional business opportunity. “Tourism for All” is also referred to in the GSTC Criteria (GSTC-I criterion A7.4; GSTC-D criterion B8). Martin Heng will explain its importance and provide clear examples that can be easily implemented by hotels, tour operators, and destinations.

Presenter: Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO

Together with the British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat representing the 5 Regional Destination Management Organizations (RDMO) in British Colombia Province, TOTA has activated a new Tourism Program for the industry in late April to provide direct support the industry was asking for.