Türkiye Develops a National Sustainable Tourism Program with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) has signed a collaboration agreement with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The signing of the agreement marks an exemplary step toward sustainability as Türkiye (Turkey) becomes the first government in the world to develop a mandatory national program with the GSTC. Thanks to the new program, the Turkish tourism industry will accelerate its global sustainability practices.

The Turkish tourism industry will be restructured with the 3-year agreement signed with the GSTC, which manages the global standards in sustainable tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria. In the first stage of the agreement, which Türkiye signed as a government with the utmost gravity towards sustainability, the national program criteria will be determined and inspection firms will receive training. The first stage of the program will become operational in 2023. The second stage will be carried out gradually in 2025. The program is planned to be concluded by 2030, when all international standards will be met.

Bringing Türkiye to the forefront in sustainable tourism, the agreement will also help achieve the goals of The Paris Agreement, signed by Türkiye at the end of last year. As of 2022, Türkiye launched a transformation towards sustainability in the tourism industry and the collaboration with GSTC will highlight the country as a strong competitor in the international arena, while helping Türkiye catch up with international tourism trends.

Türkiye has taken an extensive series of measures with regards to transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, and congress facilities as well as the well-being and health conditions of passengers/guests and employees with the Safe Tourism Certification Program, which was implemented in 2020 and the first of its kind in the world. Nearly 12,000 facilities have been granted the Safe Tourism Certification so far. Within the scope of the program, the tourism industry, especially the accommodation facilities, will be subjected to both safe and sustainable standards. As of April 2022, accommodation facilities will gradually start to implement sustainable practices.

Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) stated that TGA is very aware of the need for a transformation towards sustainability within the tourism sector as Türkiye is steeped in nature and traditional heritage, and the protection of our environment is of utmost importance. “Thanks to our work with GSTC, our visitors will have the chance to enjoy a responsible holiday in Türkiye, and our industry and partners will have the necessary tools to achieve responsible tourism.”

“TGA has impressed us very much with their plans for a highly comprehensive approach to moving Türkiye’s tourism sector to more sustainable forms. As such, we’re delighted to support their systematic approach with our standards and programs,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

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; but it accredits 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, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

Information for media and the press: https://www.gstcouncil.org/about/for-the-press/

About Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)

Founded on July 15, 2019, Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) is dedicated to delivering Türkiye as a brand and a popular destination in both domestic and international tourism markets; discover, develop and promote tangible and intangible natural, cultural, biological and manmade heritage assets; boost the tourism capacity of Türkiye, increase the rate of tourism investments in the national economy and raise the quality of service with short, medium and long term communication and marketing activities.

In line with tourism strategies and policies set by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Agency will carry out all promotion, marketing and communication activities to serve Türkiye’s tourism goals, promote and market current tourism opportunities across the globe as well as discover, improve and establish potential areas of tourism. Operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Agency is subject to private law provisions. The Agency is made up of the Board of Directors, Executive Board, and Advisory Board, with the Board of Directors serving as the decision-making body. The Board of Directors comprises of 15 members chaired by the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye.