The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) is pleased to announce that the standard ‘Nature’s Best Sweden’ has gained GSTC-Recognized status, meaning it has been fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria.Nature's best sweden

Nature’s Best® is the Swedish standard for ecotourism accommodation and tour operators providing natural and cultural experience for the conscious travelers. It creates the conditions for achieving several sub-goals in Sweden’s continued work with the UN’s global sustainability goals – Agenda 2030. In particular, the goals of sustainable consumption and production, to protect ecosystems and biodiversity, and to combat climate change.

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the content of the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental principles. 

GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to the process of certification (which is a third-party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard). GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to accreditation ( formal verification that a certification body operates in a competent and neutral manner according to international standards of how to properly certify, which is the highest level of assurance).

The stated scope of the GSTC Recognition of the Nature’s Best Sweden Standard is for both accommodations and tour operators, and its coverage is in Sweden. The GSTC Recognition is valid until either the standard or the GSTC Industry Criteria are changed.

“It means a great deal that GSTC recognizes Nature’s Best. We are now part of a global network with a substantial framework for the sustainable development of the tourism industry, which means we are on the right track.

We know that more and more guests are aware and are actively looking for sustainable experiences. We hope that the recognition will be helpful for the guests who strive to find the right company that is adapted to their wishes” says Pär Innala, chief of the Nature’s Best labeling process

“We are proud to have our standard recognized by the GSTC, and the rigorous process has made us even more confident that Nature’s Best system is based on a solid standard. Now also with a tool to measure continuous improvement, which provides additional value for the connected companies” says Camilla Jönsson, General Secretary, Naturturismföretagen.

“Nature’s Best Sweden is well established with a high-quality standard. But by joining the growing movement of programs aligning with the Four Pillars of the GSTC Criteria, the program asserts its credentials for taking a holistic approach in line with our Global standards,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

Currently, 15 destination standards, 21 tour operator standards, 40 hotel standards, and 5 systems have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. 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 follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practices, transparency, and rigor. A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here

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 Accreditation of 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 it accredits 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, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism. 

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About Nature’s Best

Nature’s Best is a quality label for ecotourism that has been developed to promote sustainable tourism in Sweden. The label is awarded to companies that meet strict sustainability criteria, such as minimizing their impact on the environment, supporting local communities and economies, and providing authentic and meaningful experiences for visitors with care of natural and cultural values. The Nature’s Best label provides travelers with a trustworthy guarantee that they support sustainable tourism when choosing a Nature’s Best-labeled company.

The label was launched in 2002 by Naturturismföretagen (the Swedish Nature and Ecotourism Association)

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