Rakuten Travel has joined as a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Rakuten Travel, a leading online travel agency operated by Rakuten Group with the broadest selection of local travel accommodation listings in Japan, has become a member of the GSTC global network. Launched in 2001, Rakuten Travel is expanding its international operations and offers support in seven languages for a global audience.

Sustainable Accommodation with Rakuten Travel

Rakuten Travel is committed to creating a more sustainable travel industry. In November 2022 the company released a series of “Sustainability Icons” to introduce the sustainability initiatives of hotels and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) on Rakuten Travel accommodation pages. These sustainability icons are part of Rakuten’s “Go Green Together” Project, which aims to help shape a sustainable society that is more environmentally, socially and economically conscious.

The icons, which were developed with reference to the GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels, are offered to qualified hotels and ryokans. They allow travelers to choose their accommodation based on eight sustainability categories encompassing waste management, responsible water usage, energy accountability, natural environment, food, tradition/history, diversity and local contribution. In addition, Rakuten Travel developed a handbook to promote sustainable initiatives at hotel facilities, made available to affiliated hotel and ryokan businesses.

As part of its work on more socially conscious travel, Rakuten Travel has also recently released “Sustainability Travel Badges,” which are awarded to hotels and other travel accommodation businesses that meet defined standards in sustainability initiatives. Rakuten Travel customers are able to search for accommodations that have been awarded the badge, making sustainable travel an even easier option.

Yoshiyuki Takano, Head of the Travel & Mobility Business and Senior Executive Officer for Rakuten Group, Inc., commented, “We are very excited to be welcomed as a GSTC member. Sustainable travel covers a wide range of practices that impact everything from the environment and economy to society and culture. All of these are essential to keep the industry growing. We look forward to collaborating with the global community to take on these challenges together, as we aim to create an even better, more sustainable travel industry.”

GSTC Welcomes Rakuten Travel

“We are pleased to welcome Rakuten Travel as a GSTC member and applaud their commitment to providing more sustainable travel accommodations in Japan,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

About Rakuten Travel

Rakuten Travel is one of the leading online travel agencies in Japan. Launched in 2001, the service offers Japan’s broadest selection of local travel accommodation listings. With 16 offices in various countries and regions, Rakuten Travel is expanding its international operations and offers support in seven languages: English, Japanese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, Thai and Bahasa Indonesian. It is part of the Rakuten Group, which operates more than 70 businesses span e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.6 billion members around the world.

About Rakuten

Rakuten Group, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.6 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 31,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/

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/