The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself and means that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards are based on the 4 pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Environment, Social, Cultural, and Management principles. This does not relate to the process of certification, nor to accreditation.
“We are convinced that business operations should also serve the common good. This requires clear rules, guidelines and incentives for all businesses and travel destinations. With our standards in tourism, we enable the implementation of binding environmental and social standards. The businesses and destinations we certify are exemplary in the area of sustainability. They are forerunners who show how the global sustainability goals of the UN Agenda 2030 can be achieved. They promote a future-oriented transformation of tourism. The GSTC recognition is a further acknowledgement of our work, and we see it as an encouraging sign in continuing to successfully demonstrate quality leadership,” said Marco Giraldo, Managing Partner TourCert.
“We commend TourCert on their future-oriented approach and commitment to sustainable tourism. By gaining GSTC-Recognized status for their set of standards for destinations, TourCert has provided the marketplace and their stakeholders strong evidence that they see sustainability broadly, to include the four pillars of sustainability: management, social, cultural, and environmental issues,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.
Currently, 12 destination standards, 36 hotel standards, and 15 tour operator 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 practice, 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 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; GSTC provides an accreditation program through its partner Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies. 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.
TourCert gGmbH brings together experts from the fields of tourism, science, environment, development and politics. The internationally renowned organization develops concepts and practical methods that support sustainable organizational design. TourCert accompanies companies and destinations in their process towards sustainability from the development of a strategy to its practical implementation.
The sustainability criteria and certification standards are demanding, internationally recognized and involve serious and comprehensive business development. TourCert accompanies organizations individually from their starting point, motivating their management and teams to take manageable steps and encouraging them to act consistently and responsibly. Beyond the current dogma of material growth, new ways of generating value are established. In this sense, TourCert also sees itself as an innovation agency for future business models.