Since 2007, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has been operating as a worldwide coalition that aims to foster understanding of sustainable tourism practices, using the GSTC Criteria as the framework for universal sustainable tourism principles. The GSTC Criteria, which serve as the foundation for GSTC’s role as the global Accreditation Body for Certification Programs for sustainable accommodations, tour operators, and destinations, is centered around four sustainability pillars.

Global Sustainable Tourism Conference held October 2016 in Suwon, Republic of Korea

Implemented in

  • Africa
  • Asia / Pacific
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Latin America / Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • North America

Sector of activity

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising, Policy Frameworks & Tools


GSTC Criteria are also composed of two subsets of performance indicators for hotels and tour operators; and the GSTC Destination Criteria, focused on the sustainable management of tourism destinations.


As collected through the One Planet Reporting

Outcome level

SCP monitoring and reporting

  • The Sustainable City Tourism Destination Standard for The Republic of Korea
  • GSTC criteria

Output level

Training for SCP

  • Sustainable Tourism Training Program

Outreach and communication for SCP

  • Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2016
  • GSTC European Regional Meeting 2016
  • GSTC Newsletter and social media channels
  • GSTC at the 2018 International Symposium of Tourism Development for Sustainability (Taiwan)
  • GSTC in Thailand: Sustainable Tourism Development towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destination (GSTC-D)

Knowledge resource and technical tool

  • GSTC Industry (Hotels & Tour Operators) Criteria ver. 3

Impact and Results

On the policymaking side, the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia created national destination sustainability standards that were based on the GSTC criteria and gained GSTC Recognition, and they’re now applying these in destinations throughout Indonesia in the hopes of creating a national certification scheme. That has involved a major amount of training of destination managers throughout the country.

Similar initiatives are underway in Thailand, and in Korea there were city standards for sustainability that started being developed in 2016, and they’re making plans to apply those in urban tourism.

Mexico, India and Ecuador have developed national standards based on the GSTC criteria, though in both cases we look forward to more tangible applications of the standards.