The International Standards Working Group will gather at the 2nd Annual GSTC Membership Council Meeting to continue our work on updating the GSTC Criteria. Our Working Group is responsible for managing the GSTC Criteria, specifically the revision process as required by ISEAL standards.

Prior to the annual meeting I wanted to provide a bit of background on our working group, our progress to date and insight into how the process works.

The International Standards Working Group has been meeting regularly since January 2011 to discuss the process and scope of the first round of revisions to the Criteria. In early meetings we discussed, at great length, the possibility of expanding the Criteria to all sectors of the Tourism industry. It was ultimately decided to follow the original mandate of the GSTC Board and focus on the existing criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators. We believe this course of action will strengthen the existing Criteria and build on the existing foundation. Once the original Criteria revision process has been approved through the public consultation process and published, the Working Group will then turn its attention to all other sectors of the industry.

The current Criteria revision process is well under way. We have been collecting feedback and suggestions from the public and industry professionals since the original launch of the Criteria in 2008. Each individual suggestion or comment is analyzed, weighed, researched and discussed by the members of the Working Group. If a comment is found to be material the respective Criteria is amended.

By June 2011 the revised Criteria will be posted for public comment for a period of 60 days on the GSTC website. Final comments will be taken from this process will be analyzed and incorporated in the amended GSTC Criteria. The Working Group is targeting the end of the year to publish the final version.

This hard work is being taken on by a very dedicated group of individuals including:

  • Ghassan Aidi- IH&RA
  • Tricia Barnett – Tourism concern
  • Johanne Barthes – ATR
  • Giulia Carbone – IUCN
  • Guy Chester – Ecosustainability
  • Hervé Houdré (Chair) – InterContinental Barclay
  • Ariane Janer – Ecobrasil
  • Brianda Lopez, Hostelling International
  • Andre Russ (Vice-Chair), EC3 Global

The committee is supported by Amos Bien – GSTC, David Brown – Solimar International and Peter Krahenbuhl – Tourism consultant.

If you are considering membership in the GSTC Council and are interested in serving on the International Standards Committee please indicate so on your application form. Working Groups are limited to 10 members. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the group select members based on an application process and then present their recommendations to the Board for final approval. The selection process occurs during set periods to maintain continuity. The next consideration period will begin at the conclusion of the current revision cycle. If you are a current member of the GSTC please contact for more information about how to apply for a Working Group position.

If you have specific questions about the GSTC Criteria revision process please send questions to the GSTC Technical Director, Amos Bien at