The Criteria for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development is now a GSTC-Recognized Standard

July 2018 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the Criteria for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development, published by Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), has achieved the ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

The Criteria for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development (CBT Thailand) has been used as an important tool for continuous planning, operating and evaluating outcome of community-based tourism development in Thailand. It is a baseline standard to help evaluate strength and weakness of community throughout the tourism development process, so that community and coaching units can effectively build the capacity and fulfill community’s potentials. Most importantly, it can be used as a monitoring tool to help to prevent unwanted negative change in communities when dealing with tourism needs. The criteria help to build immunity for communities to be aware of their capacity and development standpoint, so the community can strive to yield the benefits from tourism while strengthening their local resource management which is the foundation for “Sustainable Community-Based Tourism Development”.

Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

“By gaining GSTC-Recognized status for Thailand’s Community-Based Tourism Development standard, DASTA has affirmed that their standard blends universal sustainable tourism principles within the Thai socio-political context,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.

“For years, DASTA has coordinated with partners in various sector, namely academics and governmental agencies in tourism development, community development, representatives of communities, local administrations and experts in tourism marketing to develop the Criteria for CBT Thailand. Now it became the first standard in the world with the focus on community-based tourism development that has GSTC-Recognized status. This achievement proves that the community-based approach that DASTA has been rigorously worked on is accurate in accordance with the international standard”, says Dr. Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, Director-General of DASTA. “The Criteria for CBT Thailand is only a starting point for emphasizing the importance of community involvement in sustainable tourism development. We hope that our work in Thailand can be useful for other countries and DASTA will continue to improve our work to achieve GSTC-Accredited status soon,” adds Dr. Sangsnit.

To date, 11 destination standards, and 30 hotels and tour operators standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.

The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. 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 complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs. Learn more about GSTC Accreditation.


About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation. The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all strive to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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About DASTA (Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration)

The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) is a public organization based on the government’s tourism development policy of increasing revenue and distributing income to local communities by managing and developing areas for integrated tourism. Established in 2003, DASTA has performed as a central agency in setting policies and strategic plans while supporting and collaborating with local communities and attractions in developing potential areas to manage tourism quality and bring together human resources, budgets and equipments to manage tourism. It uses an integrated approach to solve problems quickly as well as encourages local communities to apply new management knowledge in order to achieve their goals.