UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai Shows Support

June 15, 2015 – Longtime Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) supporter UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai recorded this message about the GSTC. It reinforces the necessity and value of the GSTC Criteria in global tourism. As a global agency, responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism, UNWTO’s support of the GSTC and the criteria symbolizes a future for tourism. This future drives conservation and poverty alleviation while continuing economic development.

Taleb Rifai: UNWTO endorses the work of the GSTC and its Criteria

“Sustainability is at the core of UNWTO’s work. We recognize that achieving sustainability requires knowledge from both national and destination level stakeholders, that’s why the UNWTO endorses the work of the GSTC and its Criteria. The Criteria provide an essential framework for identifying what must be done to be sustainable. Additionally, they were developed following international best practices and with wide public consultations and the result is globally relevant and a globally applicable set of guidelines.” – UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

The GSTC Criteria are the minimum requirements that any tourism business or public destination management authorities should aspire to reach. These standards will allow them to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources.

Through diverse stakeholder engagement, the GSTC Criteria offer a result of a common language for sustainability in tourism. Converted into different languages and applicable to all nations, the GSTC Criteria are the most comprehensive sustainable tourism standards out there. Furthermore, the Criteria (free of charge) are applicable to tour operators, hotels, and entire destinations making sustainable tourism standards versatile and relevant to nearly all sectors.

In 2008, a coalition of more than 50 organizations formed the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC Partnership). The Partnership was initiated by the Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism.

The partnership between UNWTO and GSTC builds a stronger future for sustainable tourism. With similar missions and the sharing of valuable best practices and advocacy for sustainable tourism, the UNWTO and GSTC jointly contribute to a future for tourism that’s globally sustainable for all stakeholders.