The 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.

Implemented in

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

Sectors of activity
Environmental Services, Consumer Goods, Culture and recreation, Financial Sector, Public Procurement, Tourism

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

Type of lead actor
Civil society

Start date
01/02/2008

Shared by

Roi Ariel

General Manager

Global Sustainable Tourism Council

Send an email

Objectives

The 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:

Sustainable management
Socioeconomic impacts
Cultural impacts
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 the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors. That code is informed by relevant ISO standards.

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.

Activities

As collected through the One Planet Reporting

Outcome level

SCP Commitments

  • Japan Tourism Agency Commits to Formally Adopt GSTC Criteria in its Tourism Policy

Policy instrument for SCP

  • The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth identifies the GSTC Criteria as the key Tool for Sustainable Tourism
  • Sustainable Sedona Tourism
  • Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Joins GSTC

SCP changes in practice

  • Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Awards Hotels through the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC)
  • Royal Caribbean announces 1,400 sustainable shore excursion options
  • TUI 2018 Sustainability Report: 9.2 million customers stayed in sustainable hotels certified to a GSTC-Recognized standard (81% of the hotels owned by TUI Group)

Output level

Knowledge resource and technical tool

  • APEC Addresses Greenwashing in Tourism and refers to the importance of GSTC in a new Policy Report

Outreach and communication for SCP

  • WWF's World Wildlife Magazine Recommends GSTC

Impact and Results

The 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:

Sustainable management
Socioeconomic impacts
Cultural impacts
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 the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors. That code is informed by relevant ISO standards.

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.

Next steps and how to get involved

The 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:

Sustainable management
Socioeconomic impacts
Cultural impacts
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 the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance, the international body providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability standards for all sectors. That code is informed by relevant ISO standards.

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.