News & Announcements

“GSTC Industry Criteria” Formally Released

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30 January 2017 - The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the release of the GSTC Industry Criteria, which had been under development for most of 2016.

The GSTC Industry Criteria serve as the 3rd revision to GSTC Hotel & Tour Operator Criteria, hence the reference to “version 3” in their formal name. To distinguish the Hotel Criteria and the Tour Operators Criteria from each other, the Industry Criteria include separate Performance Indicators for Hotels and for Tour Operators, but the two share the same set of Criteria.

“The GSTC Industry Criteria forms a private sector ‘umbrella’ set of Criteria which can be applied to any future subsector-specific Criteria,” says GSTC CEO Randy Durband. “It opens the path for us to create baseline standards for other sub-sectors beyond hotels and tour operators.”

GSTC Criteria serve as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification.

They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (1) Sustainable management; (2) Socioeconomic impacts; (3) Cultural impacts; and (4) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes).

The GSTC Criteria have been built on decades of prior work and experience around the world, and they take into account the numerous guidelines and standards for sustainable tourism from every continent. During the process of development, they were widely consulted throughout the globe, in both developed and developing countries, in several languages. They reflect our goal in attaining a global consensus on sustainable tourism.  The process of developing the Criteria was designed to adhere to ISO codes of conduct and the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors.

The Criteria are the minimum, not the maximum, which businesses, governments, and destinations should achieve to approach social, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity

To date, two sets of GSTC Criteria have been developed: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria.

In the coming months the Industry Criteria will be translated into many languages.

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