The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) is pleased to announce that “Green Hotel Plus” and its Thai version (เกณฑ์ Green Hotel Plus) have gained GSTC-Recognized Standard status, meaning they have been fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria.

For over 10 years, the Environmentally Friendly Hotel Project (Green Hotel), led by the Department of Climate Change and Environment of Thailand (DCCE), has worked to enhance Thai hotels’ resource efficiency and environmental management, and prepare establishments for international environmental standard assessment. 

The Green Hotel Standards journey (through Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards) focuses on improving sustainability practices and reducing the environmental impact of hotels in Thailand. It includes an eco-friendly service policy involving staff and executives, and staff development to ensure knowledgeable and skilled employees. Public relations campaigns educate staff and guests, while procurement practices focus on reducing environmental impact. Sustainable resource use, effective waste management, and local community involvement are also prioritized. 

The GSTC-Recognized Green Hotel Plus Standard and its Thai version build on this foundation, including additional management specifications, staff, child and animal welfare, as well as measuring, reducing and reporting carbon emissions; in line with the DCCE’s mission to support Thailand to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and Net Zero by 2065. The GH Plus enables Thai hotels to seamlessly transition from national to international sustainability standards.

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the content of the standard 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 competently and neutrally according to international standards of how to properly certify, which is the highest level of assurance).

The stated scope of the standard is Hotels and geographical coverage is Thailand. The GSTC Recognition is valid until either the standard or the GSTC Industry Criteria are changed. 

“Green Hotel Plus represents an important step in consolidating existing programs in Thailand to create greater clarity in the marketplace. A Thai solution aligned with the global GSTC Criteria,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.

“Thailand’s Department of Climate Change and Environment is proud to announce the successful elevation of the Thai Green Hotel standards to international levels. During the past year, in collaboration with the EU SWITCH ASIA Tourlink Project, the Department has developed an advanced criteria for environmentally friendly hotels, known as Green Hotel Plus. As a result, for the first time in Thailand, a national, sustainable hotel standard has been recognised by the GSTC. This recognition will motivate Thai hotels following the Thai Green Hotel program to meet world-class environmentally and socially friendly standards, gaining acceptance from eco-conscious tourists and tour operators. This recognition also promotes the development of sustainable production and consumption patterns, towards Thailand’s and the DCCE’s mission to achieve the SDG’s, and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change by achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065,” says Dr. Pirun Saiyasitpanich, Director of the Department of Climate Change and Environment (DCCE)

“Most Thai hotels which are engaged in certification are members of national, Thai programs. The new, Green Hotel Plus standard gives over 800 hotels a clear pathway from national to international best practice standards, and an opportunity to scale up best practices. It has been a pleasure to work alongside committed colleagues, with the generous support of EU SWITCH ASIA,” says Mr. Peter Richards, EU SWITCH ASIA Tourlink Project Manager.

Currently, 73 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 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 three sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, Industry Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, and MICE Criteria for Venues, Event Organizers, and Events & Exhibitions. 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.

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About the Green Hotel Plus

The Environmentally Friendly Hotel Project (Green Hotel) by the Department of Climate Change and Environment of Thailand aims to enhance hotels’ resource efficiency and environmental management and prepare establishments for international environmental standard assessment. The Royal Thai Government established the Department of Climate Change and the Environment (DCCE) within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to coordinate national efforts to tackle environmental challenges. 

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