Global Sustainable Tourism Council

Global Sustainable Tourism Council

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council is managing the GSTC Criteria, global standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as providing international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies.



GSTC Destination Criteria with Performance indicators and SDGs

The GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0 includes performance indicators designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the Criteria. Against each criterion, one or more of the 17 SDGs is identified.

What are the Criteria for?

Some of the expected uses of the criteria by tourism management organizations include the following:

  • Serve as basic guidelines for destinations that wish to become more sustainable
  • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism destinations
  • Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize destinations and inform the public regarding their sustainability
  • Help certification and other voluntary destination level programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline
  • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements
  • Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as hotel schools and universities



GSTC Industry Criteria

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria were created to provide a common understanding throughout the world of “sustainable tourism”, and are the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment. They have applicability to the entire tourism industry.

Some of the uses of the criteria include the following:

  • Serve as the basis for certification for sustainability
  • Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes to become more sustainable, and help businesses choose sustainable tourism programs that fulfill these global criteria
  • Provide greater market access in the growing market for sustainable products, serving as guidance both for travelers and for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programmes
  • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programs and businesses
  • Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize sustainable tourism providers
  • Help certification and other voluntary programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline
  • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements
  • Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as hotel schools and universities
  • Demonstrate leadership that inspires others to act



GSTC Industry Criteria with Suggested Performance Indicators for Hotels and Accommodations

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria and Suggested Indicators for Hotels were created in an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and are the minimum that a hotel (or any type of built accommodations) business should aspire to reach.
The Hotel Criteria are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment.

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GSTC Industry Criteria with Suggested Performance Indicators for Tour Operators

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria and Suggested Indicators for Tour Operators were created in an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and are the minimum that a Tour Operator (a provider, operator, and/or seller of travel products) business should aspire to reach.
The Tour Operator Criteria are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment.