GSTC Accreditation of Certification Bodies that Certify Accommodations, Tour Operators, and Destinations
GSTC partners with ASI to provide accreditation services for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as sustainable. This provides the marketplace a credible means of selecting Certification Bodies that have been verified by an impartial, credible assurance provider.
Accreditation drives market-facing ecolabel which supports Responsible Consumption & Production by giving buyers of tourism services at both the retail and wholesale level a credible means of selecting services and suppliers that are certified sustainable. The Conference focused on “Sustainable Destinations”, and the application of the GSTC Destination Criteria, with a focused panel of representatives from destinations that apply the GSTC Destination Criteria: Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism – Cayman Islands; Beatriz Barreal, Founder & General Manager – Sustainable Riviera Maya (Mexico); Dawson Ramsden, Ecotourism Marketing Executive – Botswana Tourism Organisation; Eduardo Gomez, Director Regional – Sernatur Los Lagos (Chile); and Tamara Ullrich, Board Member – ZOIT Cchellenko (Chile). Other topics included tourism and climate change (adaptation and mitigation strategies); marketing sustainable tourism; sustainable visitor management; indigenous tourism; sustainable food in the tourism industry; and more. Simultaneous translation was provided in English and Spanish. Speakers came from near and far – from different parts of Chile (including Mapuche and Yagan), Latin America, and from further continents such as Africa, Australia, and Europe. As with previous GSTC Conferences, the carbon footprint of the event is being offset to become a ‘carbon neutral event’ by the scheme CO2 NEUTRAL SEAL through sponsorship of Green Evolution SA. Other sustainable-events practices were carried out, such as reducing paper and plastic usage to a minimum: badges were made of recycled paper, brochures were not printed at all but were being provided through pdf files, no plastic bottles were used during the conference. Vegetarian meal was the default option, and no lamb was served. The GSTC Accreditation Manual has impacted non-accredited certification programs in tourism by raising awareness on impartiality requirements and other aspects of credible certification per the ISEAL Alliance Assurance Code and relevant ISO standards such as ISO 17065. GSTC has evidence of such impacts via direct communications with several programs’ leaders.
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