Sustainable Berlin Standard Announced as a GSTC-Recognized Standard

Berlin, 17 February 2023 – The GSTC is pleased to announce that the Sustainable Berlin Standard has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status and is fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria. The stated scope of the standard is Hotels and Tour operators and coverage is Berlin, Germany. visitBerlin

The destination marketing and management organization visitBerlin promotes the sustainable development of Berlin’s tourism and events industry with the management and certification programs “Sustainable Tourism Berlin” for suppliers in the leisure tourism industry and “Sustainable Meetings Berlin” for partners from the business travel tourism industry. The 65 process-oriented criteria for the standards have been developed on the basis of internationally recognized frameworks like ISO-standards, the german national sustainability code (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitskodex) and the GSTC Industry Criteria, and aims to help suppliers implement a sustainability management system and continuous improvement process.

Since August 2021, Berlin has been a member of the GSTC and has thus committed itself to the common understanding of sustainable tourism.

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 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 does not relate to the process of certification or accreditation.

“Berlin is ready for the future,” says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin. “The criteria of our Berlin sustainability initiatives for the tourism and events industry are now also compliant with international standards. We are thus in a strong position to provide Berlin companies a good head start towards long-term and sustainable development.”

“Congratulations to visitBerlin for the continued development of their sustainability programmes, providing a systematic and holistic approach for tourism businesses in the region,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

Currently, 14 destination standards, 42 hotel standards, and 21 tour operator standards 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 practice, 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; GSTC provides an accreditation program through its partner Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies. 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 visitBerlin

visitBerlin is the city’s official marketing agency and promotes Berlin as a tourism and convention destination worldwide. Together with partners from politics, business and society, visitBerlin pursues the goal of further developing Berlin tourism and positioning it for the future. The focus is on urban compatibility and sustainability.

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