Hotel Sustainability for Industry Professionals

Agoda has teamed up with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to empower its hotel partners in cultivating sustainable tourism practices and acquiring in-depth, practical knowledge of the GSTC Criteria.

Being the pioneering travel platform to collaborate with GSTC in delivering hotel sustainability trainings, this marks Agoda and GSTC’s fourth such training, building on the success of previous editions held in Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand, benefiting nearly 200 hoteliers.

This training equips hoteliers with the knowledge and tools necessary for enhancing their sustainability practices. Participants delve into the GSTC Criteria, which serve as the global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. They gain insights from best practices and real-world hotel case studies in sustainability.

The interactive two-day training offers hoteliers a valuable opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in sustainable development by engaging directly with GSTC trainers and guest speakers. By utilizing a checklist based on the GSTC Hotel Criteria, participants can assess their current performance and establish short, medium, and long-term sustainability goals, aligning themselves with globally recognized sustainability standards.

  • Date: November 28-29, 2023

  • Venue: Park Regis Goa, Saqwadi, Arpora, Goa 403509, India

  • Language: English

DAY 1: November 28, 2023

TimeAgendaLearning Goals
09:00 – 09:05Welcome & Opening Remarks by GSTC

Mr. CB Ramkumar, Vice-chair, GSTC

09:05 – 09:20Welcome & Opening Remarks by Agoda and Government of Goa

Mr. Krishna Rathi, Agoda Country Director India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives

Mr. Suneel Anchipaka, Director of Tourism, Government Of Goa

09:20 – 09:30Group Photo
09:20 – 10:30Morning Session 1:

  • Sustainable Tourism Overview: the definition and principles of sustainable tourism; issues, current trends, business case for sustainability.
  • Introduction to the GSTC and GSTC Criteria: an introduction to the GSTC Criteria; the GSTC’s roles in the global tourism industry.
Learning Goals:

Understand the roles of the GSTC and the GSTC Criteria.

Learn about the sustainability and tourism trends.

10:30 – 11:00Networking and Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30Morning Session 2:

  • GSTC Industry Criteria Section A: best practices in sustainable tourism management approaches.
Learning Goals:

Become familiar with sustainability management principles and discuss best practices of hotels

12:30 – 13:30Lunch Break
13:30 – 14:40Afternoon Session 1:

  • GSTC Industry Criteria Section A (continued): best practices in sustainable tourism management approaches.
Learning Goals:

Become familiar with sustainability management principles and discuss best practices of hotels

14:40 – 15:00Coffee Break
15:00 – 17:30Afternoon Session 2:

  • GSTC Industry Criteria (B. Socio-economic Sustainability)
Learning Goals:

Understand issues and challenges related to the socioeconomic impacts of hotels. Learn about sustainability practices that effectively address the socioeconomic impacts of hotels.

17:30 – 18:00Day 1 summary and wrap-up

Day 2: November 29, 2023

TimeAgendaLearning Goals
09:00 – 09:20
  • Day 1 Re-cap
  • Day 2 Introduction
09:20 – 10:40Morning Session 1:

  • GSTC Industry Criteria (C. Cultural Heritage Benefits and Impacts)
Learning Goals:

Understand issues and challenges related to the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.

Learn about sustainability practices that effectively address the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.

10:40 – 11:00Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30Morning Session 2:

  • GSTC Industry Criteria (D. Environmental Benefits and Impacts)
Learning Goals:

Understand issues and challenges related to the impact of business on the local environment. 

Learn about best practices on how a hotel business reduces negative impacts in terms of environmental sustainability.

12:30 – 13:30Lunch Break
13:30 – 14:30Afternoon Session 1:

  • Guest speech
Learning Goals:

Learn about best practices on how a hotel follows the GSTC Industry Criteria and moves on the sustainable path

14:30 – 14:45Coffee Break
14:45 – 16:20Afternoon Session 2 (Group Discussion):

  • Apply the GSTC Industry Criteria to their hotel practices and compare the GSTC hotel checklist in groups.
Learning Goals:

Using the checklist, they can understand how they can immediately apply the GSTC Criteria to their own work.

16:20 – 17:30Afternoon Session 3 (Presentation):

  • Share their current practices and the action plans for the sustainable hotel and get feedback from the trainers and the other participants
Learning Goals:

Using the checklist, they can understand how they can immediately apply the GSTC Criteria to their own work.

17:30 – 18:00Training wrap-up: looking back and moving forward

Testimonials

The GSTC training proved to be extremely helpful for me and my small-scale travel agency that I founded only 18 months ago. We definitely still have a long way to go on the road to sustainability but the GSTC training has been a very important step towards it. The training offers very detailed and concrete insights as well as general strategies to work towards a sustainable organisation.”

Treesje Vanderlinden, Keniaanse Toeren

Participating allowed me to gain valuable insights and knowledge which I am determined to apply in my field of work as a representative of a state tourist board.

Gerald Maerz, CMO, Vorarlberg State Tourism Board

I would recommend GSTC training to anyone working in tourism development (communities, states, provinces) as well as the broad spectrum of industries (accommodations, transportation, attractions, etc.) engaged in the tourism “business.” Understanding what it means to build a sustainable tourism environment that is inclusive of all stakeholders is fundamental to the future of destinations and tourism itself.

Randal G. Baker, Ph.D., Director of Hospitality and Tourism program, St Cloud State University, U.S.A.

The GSTC training has been very inspiring and relevant, an excellent programme providing in-depth knowledge of the GSTC criteria for sustainable practices together with al lot of real life examples. Good qualified trainers and great guest speakers! I would really recommend the course to all industry professionals who is serious about making sustainable impacts for a better travel and hospitality industry.

Linda Ramberg, Advisor, Fossekall AS

The GSTC programme, led by highly qualified and experienced facilitators and world class presenters, provides a thorough analysis and an integrated approach to sustainable tourism development. The brilliantly structured course, the live online sessions, discussion fora and extensive reference material gave us all access to much valuable information. In addition, the networking opportunities and rich sharing among the global participants, ourselves mostly ST experts, made for a most enriching and inspiring experience. It is wonderful to be part of a world-wide community of sustainable tourism practitioners, imparting such wisdom and committed to making a positive impact for all. Thank You GSTC for an outstanding programme!

Yvonne Armour, Responsible Tourism Development Specialist / Educator

This is a well prepared and well delivered course. It provides comprehensive coverage of key issues, real life examples and good practice from across the industry. Instructors are knowledgeable, responsive and easy to follow. Presentations by guests speakers are also very interesting and illuminating. I highly recommend.

Yasemin Biro Kirtman, Knowledge and Learning Coordinator, Global Environment Facility

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism course was a holistic, digestible, and engaging opportunity. As a busy professional, the pace and length of course was very thoughtful and the combination of live sessions, networking with tourism professionals, expert guest presenters, small breakout sessions, videos, quizzes, links to a plethora of resources, and discussion forums ensured that I could make the most out of my investment in the course.

Erin Harris, CEO/Founder, Feed Our Joy Travel

It was a great learning experience, very practical and applicable in real life. The trainers are always available, caring and attentive. The participants are of a high level, and the notion of “learning by sharing” is taken seriously. I feel ready to use the GSTC Criteria for my personal project but also to support other professionals in my region.

Raquel Renovato, Oshun Ecovillage Slow Travel

This course provided me with a thorough understanding of how to implement sustainable travel practices. I will definitely integrate information from this training into my work with travel organizations and destinations to help them achieve short-term progress through a long-term strategy.

Sophia Hyder Hock, Founder and CEO, Papilia

I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot. It was interesting to hear from people all over the world and get their perspectives on sustainability. I loved hearing from the guest speakers. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in sustainability in the tourism industry.

Jody Blaney, Utah Office of Tourism

The GSTC course was very professional and a great experience. I appreciated the communications via emails on what was next, what to expect. There is a lot of data on this topic and GSTC made if very easy to comprehend and the training is the best I have seen this far. I would highly recommend this course and educational training. I look forward to working very closely with GSTC in the future.

Debbie Meihls, President & CEO New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau

The most significant takeaway for me was the comprehensive understanding it provided regarding sustainability and its various components. The course offers an excellent starting point and a systematic approach for anyone looking to embark on their sustainability journey. It has been instrumental in helping me grasp the entirety of the concept and has provided a solid foundation for initiating sustainable practices.

Mathi Thayanan, Country Team Coordinator, Market Development Facility

The course is very interesting and well designed. With very professional speakers, it gives you a lot of insights and the possibility to work on real cases.

Giulia Tempesta, Evaneos

The GSTC sustainable tourism course has helped me to consolidate the basis of sustainability opening my mind by teaching me different ways to approach tourism industry and destination from a sustainable point of view. It’s very rich to share ideas with people from all over the world. An excellent organization, I highly recommend it to anyone with curiosity about how to improve in the sustainable tourism industry.

Gemma Llobet, Sustainable Tourism Programme, Barcelona Tourism Board

Food for your brain! If sustainable tourism didn’t mean anything to you before, just subscribe to start your own journey towards sustainability whether you’re a traveler, or a stakeholder of the Tourism Industry!

Sonja Gottlebe, Consultante en Tourisme Responsable, Madagascar

This course has given me an approach to the GSTC Criteria, where the basic and complete structure to move forward on sustainable paths is visualized. The reflections generated through real examples, discussions and available material are key to better internalize what sustainability means. Ideas applicable to our business and our work area appear during the course that contribute positively to one’s reality. I will recommend this course, for its contribution to the objective, honest and constructive understanding of what sustainability is.

Agustin Landeta, Owner, Zenit Travel

The course was very helpful to gain a deeper insight into sustainability in tourism and also to learn what challenges and realities other tourism professionals around the globe have to deal with.

Stefan Aerni, Quality & Sustainability manager, Dolder Hotel AG

The overall learning experience was great! The internet platform, videos and resources are are very well explanatory and the weekly live sessions perfectly illustrate all criteria.

Benoit Sauvage, CEO, Connect DMC

It was a great experience to complete my holistic knowledge of sustainable tourism and to get in contact with people and sustainable projects around the word which share the same values and goals.

Birgit Krüger, Consultant for sustainable tourism & marketing, TOURIMAR, Germany
This course has been very relevant and provides in-depth knowledge of GSTC criteria for sustainable practices for destinations as well as the travel industry [with] plenty of real life examples and share links to plenty of reading material throughout the course. … As we move forward during these difficult COVID times, learning our lessons on the damage to nature, it becomes all the more important for industry professionals to get trained and step up efforts to embrace sustainability in all aspects of tourism. Hence, I recommend this course to all industry professionals.
Manisha Soti, The Walshe Group

I had a great experience hearing and discussing how my fellow training participants act in their country / organization / company to constantly improve their sustainable practices.

Chiara Padoan, Sustainable Tourism Coordinator, Big French Key Roatan SA, Roatan-Honduras

The course was enriching, and the reflections are already helping me in my work. Using the GSTC Criteria as a basis for a holistic vision of sustainability in tourism works perfectly.

Ana Cecilia Duék, Director, Viajar Verde

What is great with this course is the ability to not only hear guest speakers and trainers about their experience and knowledge but also have discussions among the participants with a variety of backgrounds. This was very valuable in terms of broadening my scope to set a foundation for the journey towards sustainability in Malaysia’s tourism industry.

Shofend Simon, Project Assistant, Peterson Projects and Solutions (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

I think this is a very complete, interesting course for anyone in Sustainability to take. There’s global networking, great examples of people leading change and sharing ideas for future collaborations. It gave me a closer look into how to approach the different aspects that constitute a businesses in different industries as well as destinations. It opened my mind to new fresh ideas.

Brenda Cortes, Sustainability Manager, Kelowna Yacht Club

I enjoyed the weekly presentations and discussions. I learnt a lot from experiences from other participants. The learning by doing approach during Thursdays helped a lot in trying to apply what I learnt on Mondays.

Percy Fernandez, Chairperson, Manipal Academy of Higher Education

The GSTC course was a great way to learn more about Sustainability, what it means, different aspects of it and how to create a plan to start! As someone relatively new in this topic, I found the information extremely helpful and educational. The guest speakers were inspiring and aspirational, and all of the group discussions and comments were really enriching. Thank you GSTC for creating such wonderful content!

Denise Chavarria, Director of Operations - YMT Vacations

My course facilitator and teacher (Ayako and Antje) went above and beyond to answer our questions and provide us with additional resources. The course content (the GSTC Criteria) was delivered in an understandable and organized way. Learning the GSTC Criteria and how it applies to our own projects, businesses, and destinations is integral to anyone wanting to do any kind of work in the future centered around travel. I appreciated that the course was delivered in an interactive way over Zoom, and not just something we watched on YouTube. For me, being able to interact with fellow students from around the world, was a big plus. Was well worth it, and I highly recommend the course!

Deb Lace-Kelly, The Lost Compass

This course takes a comprehensive approach to integrating sustainability practices into the tourism industry. The perfect way to dive into this topic is through a blended modality that mixes theoretical and practical approaches and this is exactly what happens in this course.

Alessandro Maura, Sustainability Consultant, ENVISA

A very informative course and well organized by excellent teachers. It was also very rewarding to “meet” people in the tourism industry around the world and unite in the interest and knowledge regarding sustainable tourism. I would definitely recommend this course to everybody involved in tourism.

Áslaug Briem, Icelandic Tourist Board

As an adventure travel tour operator, we are focused on doing as much good as possible to every place and community we visit and sustainability is rightly gaining momentum, both with industry professionals and with our customers. Therefore having the knowledge from this course means you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure your efforts are being focused in the right areas. This course has allowed me to gain insights from right across the tourism spectrum, which I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to (not easily anyway!), as well as opening my eyes to just how much difference we can make.

Nikki, Exodus Travels

An excellent course, very well designed and structured, challenging with great support from the trainers. The practical insights I gained will help me in my future project to embed sustainability in educational projects.

Helga Nagy, International Advisory Committee, the École d'Hôtellerie et de Tourisme Paul Dubrule

GSTC seminar helps to open the eyes and to develop a new regard on longevity of tourism and the entire sustainable content. I would advise to every professional body working in tourism to participate to this kind of seminar as soon as possible.

Dagmar Ehlen, Senior Product Manager, Cruise Services SAM

I’ve always tried to improve and learn about modern methods of preservation, practice sustainable tourism and ways to better apply my knowledge with my team. With my participation in this course, I was able to understand the GSTC criteria and how best to apply them in my daily life in a didactic way.

Alvaro Rodrigues, Director, BSE - Brazil Shore Excursions

The GSTC training is very useful in our efforts of future sustainability. This knowledge is very important to our company business moving forward. The GSTC criteria guided us towards the best practices that enables us to monitor the progress of each important tasks. I would strongly recommend GSTC training to everyone because its set a baseline for future sustainability efforts.

Tong Chye Lau, Operation Director, Spring City Golf & Lake Resort

This course is fantastic! So well organized, well balanced, and informative! Highly recommended for those that understand sustainable tourism to those just starting their journey. Excellent reviews, speakers, and instructors, very engaging!

Kelly Bricker, University of Utah, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

This is exceptional to work with a group from all around the world and to share experiences from so many different tourism destinations. While learning more about each GSTC pillar & criteria I was encouraged to immediately apply the evaluation criteria to my own business and to challenge myself into a lot more sustainable actions.

Pascal Gavotto , Tourism Specialist and owner of Fatumaru Lodge - Vanuatu

Great teachers and companions allowed to understand all the relevant issues of this complex industry and to get inspired by great examples!

Asia Baroni, Consultant, Territori Sostenibili, Italy

This is a great introductory way to get started with your sustainability strategy. It’s a bit daunting to overhaul an entire business and operation strategy in order to be come a more sustainable organization, so this course is definitely needed in learning how to get started, inspiration from other entities, ability to create global connections with others in the industry that have the same focus, and great resources to guide you in the beginning phases of building up your own strategy.

Zach Fyne, Global Markets Specialist, Utah Office of Tourism

I loved the GSTC Tourism course, it had great information and allowed for wonderful interactions with other industry professionals from around the world. Very relevant to how the industry should be moving and focusing to become a more responsible and equitable industry.

Stu Luchs, CEO, The Luchs Group

I highly recommend the course to anyone interested to explore or deepen sustainability in tourism. It gives a great overview on all dimensions and how to tackle them hands-on. Course management and content are both at the highest level! Thanks!

Samuel Wille, Manager Strategic Partnership, Switzerland Tourism Organization

I enjoyed being able to learn about up to date and practical examples of sustainable tourism from operators and destinations around the globe.

E'Lisha V. Fogle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

This course was incredibly well organized and delivered. I was continually impressed with the asynchronous materials like the pre-recorded videos, examples and slides. This prepared me well for the live sessions where discussions occurred and mini cases were used to apply the knowledge. The weekly summaries were very beneficial in pulling together the key learnings. I really enjoyed the forums where participants could provide their own examples and further the learning process.

I would highly recommend this GSTC course to industry, destinations and other schools as it focuses on relevant, practical, implementable elements of sustainability for tourism management and operations. Both the director organizing the course and the facilitator delivering the course content, were exceptional in putting this program together.

Christian Van Buskirk, Professor, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

EXAM & CERTIFICATE

GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

Certificate of Attendance

After completing the 2-day training, participants will get the certificate of attendance.

GSTC Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

By completing this 2-day onsite training, participants will meet the training requirement towards earning the GSTC Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism and will have the option to take the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Exam. The exam takes place online, and participants will have 2 weeks after the training to take the exam. If participants pass the exam, they will receive a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism by the GSTC.

>> Learn more about GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

GSTC Trainers

CB Ramkumar
Vice-chair & Trainer, GSTC

Mr. CB Ramkumar (Ram) is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant and an entrepreneur. He is passionate about sustainability and has over the years acquired application knowledge in sustainable living concepts. He developed a model for sustainable living when he built and founded Our Native Village, an eco resort just outside Bangalore, in South India. Over the last decade, he has extended his expertise to sustainable living – including topics such as sustainable food, sustainable health, sustainable marketing and branding.

Ram is also a trained Climate Leader after undergoing a training programme by the Former US Vice President and Nobel laureate, Mr. Al Gore. In addition to being a regular guest faculty in colleges across India, Ram is a guest faculty for the Indian Forest Officers training programme for eco tourism for the Jungle Lodges & Resorts in Karnataka and the International Centre for Environmental Audit & Sustainable Development in Jaipur.

Rajesh Nambiar
Trainer, GSTC

With over 28 years of experience in the travel and tourism sector, Rajesh Nambiar has traversed the intricate pathways of international and domestic tourism, focusing on business management, product development, and distribution.
Formerly the Executive Vice President of Ottila International, a respected name in India’s wholesale tour-operator sector, Rajesh’s insights and leadership have contributed significantly to the company’s growth.
As a dedicated consultant for travel businesses, he offers his expertise in vision planning, strategic advice, product innovation, and sustainability practices. Rajesh’s commitment to sustainable tourism is underscored by his completion of the Sustainable Tourism Training Programme by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) (2017) and the Project Management for Sustainable Development (PM4SD) Foundation (2018) from APMG International. He is also an active member of GSTC’s India Working Group.
Rajesh Nambiar is also the founder of Travizz, a first of its kind, practical digital library designed to reshape the travel industry. His academic journey, including a Diploma in Hotel Management, a bachelor’s degree in economics, and a Diploma in Advanced Marketing, has further enriched his understanding of the field.

Note for the registration:

This training is sponsored by Agoda and is exclusively available to invited hotel partners on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that each hotel may register only one representative for this training.

This training course includes:

Coffee and lunch for 2 days are included.

After the 2-day training, participants will receive the certificate of attendance with the GSTC and Agoda logos.

Please note that the exam fee (USD $75) is not included in the above training. If participants want to take the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Exam after the training, they can apply online, and further information will be sent in the training closing email.