Sustainable Tourism Online Course

What: 4-week sustainable tourism online course by the GSTC
When: October 14 – November 8, 2019*
Where: Online
Language: English

This course has already started and we are currently not accepting any registration. If you’re interested in being part of one of the future GSTC training online courses, please see the 2020 course schedule here.

*Weekly live webinars scheduled for 12:00-13:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time, UTC +2) / CET (Central European Time, UTC +1) on the following days.

Click on the links below to show the sessions times in your time zone.

These live webinars will be recorded and participants will be able to watch the recordings any time during the course period. Although strongly encouraged, attending these sessions live is not mandatory.


Sustainable Tourism Online Course for Industry Professionals

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) provides the knowledge and resources needed to help improve sustainability practices by tourism industry businesses and destinations. Built on the framework of the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, the STTP training class will help you achieve tangible actions that fulfill the globally recognized standard of sustainability best practices.

Delivered as a 4-week-long facilitated and interactive training class, the sustainable tourism online course offers a convenient way to improve your sustainability skills in a flexible online learning environment, while at the same time learning alongside GSTC experts and fellow sustainable tourism practitioners.

What Do Other Industry Professionals Say about This Course?

“This training will enable me to conduct more thorough analysis of our practices, track quantifiable improvement and better understand and fulfill the criteria laid out by the GSTC, and [support our work with] a GSTC accredited body to create a roadmap for change for the company and to achieve certification.”

Alice Woodford, The Fabulous Getaway

“To work on sustainability is a never-ending story and can be overwhelming at times. The GSTC training supports a structured approach toward continuous improvement. It provides applicable tools to evaluate our sustainability performance and guidance for setting long-term strategies. It allows you to break down this massive task into achievable working packages.”

Matteo Bierschneider, Wise Steps Travel

>> See more comments by past course participants


Certificate in Sustainable Tourism 2017 SAMPLE 300pxGSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

By completing this 4-week online training class of the STTP, you will meet the training requirement towards earning the GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism.

Once you complete the class, you will have have access to the official STTP Exam, and upon successful completion (75% and above passing mark is required), receive a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism by the GSTC to demonstrate your knowledge of sustainable tourism standards and practices.

>> Learn more about GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism


GSTC Trainer: Antje Martins

GSTC Trainer: Antje MartinsAntje is currently an Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland. Prior to joining academia, Antje has worked in tourism and hospitality for more than 15 years across several countries such as Germany, France and Australia. With the aim of helping to minimize the impact of the tourism and hospitality industry on its social, cultural and ecological environment, she focuses on educating and mentoring future industry leaders. To help the industry improve further, Antje has also started her PhD on the topic of sustainable workforce.

Previously she served as the Training and Corporate Project Manager at EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific certification and advisory group for travel and tourism, as well as managing the EarthCheck Training Academy. Training development and delivery, speaking engagements and workshop facilitation has always been an integral part of her journey, including on-the-job training of new staff, facilitating climate change workshops, speaking at industry conventions and now managing. She is a Certified Asia Pacific Visitor Economy Expert through the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA).

In addition to being a GSTC Trainer, Antje is a member of the GSTC Education and Training Working Group (ETWG).

Ayako Ezaki, GSTC Training Director

Ayako Ezaki, GSTC Training DirectorAyako Ezaki is Co-Founder and Head of Knowledge Management & Communications at TrainingAid, an international tourism and training company offering online training courses and skills development opportunities for tourism industry professionals.

Having worked for over ten years in tourism professional training and education in the non-profit sector, Ayako specializes in content building, educational program design, and project planning. She also brings many years of experience in online communications, social media marketing, and web publishing. Through TrainingAid’s partnership with the GSTC, Ayako serves as Training Director to develop, manage and market the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP).

Randy Durband, GSTC CEO

Randy DurbandRandy Durband has had two careers in travel and tourism – twenty-plus years in senior leadership positions at some of the finest U.S. tour operators, having served as President for Travcoa, INTRAV, and Clipper Cruise Lines, (brands within TUI Travel plc), plus Executive Vice President of Tauck World Discovery. Following that, in his second travel and tourism career, Randy advanced the work of Sustainable Tourism as an advisor, consultant, and speaker.

He brings his knowledge of the business of travel, his global network of travel professionals, and a passion for sustainability to support the GSTC and the general sustainable tourism movement. He has held several board positions and committee memberships in travel and tourism organizations, and is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism issues.

Paul Rogers, Co-Founder, Planet Happiness

Paul Rogers PhD is one of Asia’s most experienced tourism for development practitioners. Supporting and advising national and local tourism organisations, his focus has been on the policy and planning arena, on using tourism as a vehicle for development. Completed in 1997, his PhD centred on tourism, conservation and development issues in Nepal’s Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) National Park. Paul is a long-term consultant with UNWTO and numerous other international organisations. Besides Nepal, he’s worked extensively in Bhutan, Laos and the Greater Mekong Region, as well as Myanmar, North Korea, North-West Africa, Australia and China.

He is co-founder of Planet Happiness, a non-profit measuring the happiness of residents living in World Heritage sites. The project aims to (i) highlight and develop the relationship between tourism and the wellbeing of host communities, and (ii) deliver a high impact media campaign that raises global awareness and participation in the Gross National Happiness and “Beyond GDP” agenda.

Cher Chua-Lassalvy, Co-Founder, Batu Batu – Pulau Tengah

Cher is the co-founder of Batu Batu – Pulau Tengah and Tengah Island Conservation. After completing her degree in Social and Political Sciences and Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, Cher spent ten years in London with Moody’s the global bond rating agency where she was an Assistant Vice President within the Structured Finance ratings group. In 2010, Cher returned to Malaysia on TalentCorp’s Returning Expert Programme and de-camped to Pulau Tengah with her young family to set-up and run the family-owned Batu Batu island project.

Batu Batu opened in 2012 and today Cher continues to oversee the company’s strategy and operations with a specific interest in developing conservation and sustainability initiatives. Cher has a particular interest in creating tourism products that support biodiversity and local communities and advocating for tourism as a force for good. As a native Johorean, she finds particular pleasure in working with other stakeholders in the area and developoing projects in her home State.

Destination Example: Azores Towards Sustainable Tourism

Azores DMO, the entity responsible for the sustainability management of the Azores as a tourist destination, works to deepen the preservation and enhancement of heritage, based on the balance between the environmental, cultural, social and economic dimensions. The DMO ensures that tourism in the region contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of Agenda 2030.

The certification of the Azores as a Sustainable Tourist Destination is underway, aiming to protect and preserve the multiplicity of natural, historical and cultural resources of the region. The Azores will be hosting the 2019 GSTC Global Sustainable Tourism Conference.


Download the syllabus here (PDF)

Module Topics & Learning Goals Live Events
Week 1: Effective Sustainable Tourism Management The first module provides an introduction to the GSTC Criteria, the definition and principles of sustainable tourism, and the GSTC’s roles in the global tourism industry, and discusses best practices in sustainable tourism management approaches (GSTC Criteria Section A).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand the roles of the GSTC and the GSTC Criteria.
  • Learn about and discuss relevant sustainability issues and tourism trends.
  • Become familiar with sustainability management principles and discuss best practices.
Monday, Oct 14th: Orientation Meeting

  • Getting Started with the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Online Course
  • GSTC and GSTC Criteria: Introduction and Overview

Thursday, Oct 17th: Sustainability Management, Planning and Marketing Quality Experiences

  • Week 1 Summary: Sustainability Management
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions
Week 2: Socioeconomic Impacts and Local Community Benefits The goal of the second week is both to dive deeper into the GSTC Criteria and to discuss practical steps to applying the Criteria in the real-world context, focused on understanding the socioeconomic impacts of tourism activities, and on effective strategies for reducing negative impacts (GSTC Criteria Section B).

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.
  • Discuss practical application of the GSTC Industry Criteria through a business case study
Monday, Oct 21st: Social, Economic and Cultural Impacts: Maximizing Community Benefits

  • Guest Presentation
  • Q&A, Discussion

Thursday, Oct 24th: Managing Tourism’s Socioeconomic Impacts

  • Week 2 Summary: Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Case Study
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions
Week 3: Cultural Heritage Preservation and Promotion Continuing on with lessons and expert presentations on the GSTC Criteria, this week focuses on how tourism businesses and destinations can minimize negative impacts, maximize benefits to local communities and protect cultural heritage through sustainable tourism (GSTC Criteria Section C).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the impact of tourism on local cultural heritage.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing negative impacts of tourism activities on local cultural heritage.
  • Discuss how to maximize tourism’s benefits for communities, visitors and local cultures through sustainability practices.
Monday, Oct 28th: Protecting Cultural Heritage, Promoting Sense of Place

  • Guest Presentation
  • Q&A, Discussion

Thursday, Oct 31st: Engaging and Education Visitors in Sustainability Practices

  • Week 3 Summary: Culture and Heritage
  • Case Study
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions
Week 4: Resource Management and Environmental Conservation In the fourth and last module of the course, key strategies for reducing tourism’s environmental footprint are presented, and practical action steps in implementing sustainable resource management and conservation practices are discussed (GSTC Criteria Section D).

Learning Goals:

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the environmental impacts of tourism.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing footprint and positively contributing to conservation.
  • Discuss how to achieve optimal results for the local environment, while supporting business growth.
Tuesday, November 5th: Achieving a Sustainable Balance: People, Planet and Profit

  • Guest Presentation

Thursday, November 7th: Course Wrap-Up and Next Steps

  • Week 4 Summary: Environmental Impacts
  • Exercise Feedback
  • Course Wrap Up and Next Steps


Course Registration Fees

The early-bird registration fees (available through September 4th, 2019) for this class are:

  • US$ 445 per person (Regular)
  • US$ 395 per person (GSTC Member)

After September 4th, 2019:

  • US$ 495 per person (Regular)
  • US$ 445 per person (GSTC Member)

*For GSTC Organization members, the above member discount is available to all staff members and can be used for an unlimited number of times.

What’s Included

As part of your registration, you will receive training materials to be provided prior to the class; access to the online training platform; and a Certificate of Completion confirming your attendance in the class.

Please note: the STTP Exam fee (US$ 75 per person) is NOT included in the above course registration fee. If you would like to take the exam after the course, you can select the add-on option “Exam & Certificate” when you register, or you can also sign up for the exam afterwards.


Group Discounts

You can sign up multiple people at the same time when registering online. Select the number of people you would like register, and you can enter contact details for each participant on the form.

We also offer a discount for each group purchase of more than 5 seats.

  • 5-10 people: US$ 375 per person.
  • 11+ people: US$345 per person

If you would like to sign up as a group of 5 and more, please contact us ( for more details.

Need-Based Discounts

We offer a limited number of need-based discounts to current students and professionals who demonstrate genuine needs. To apply, please submit this application form.

*Can’t make it to this class? STTP online training classes are offered quarterly, in addition to the onsite face-to-face training classes offered throughout the year in various locations around the world. See all upcoming STTP training classes here.