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Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered non-profit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities.


In the framework of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council commits to:

  • Encouraging affiliated organisations and businesses or partners to join the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative by sharing important development and insights with GSTC Members as well as informing about the GTPI including provision of support on how to join it and learn more about practices to reduce single-use plastics items and packaging through GSTC's media channels.

  • Advising and guiding affiliated organisations and businesses or partners to better manage plastics in their operations through a focus on adherence to the GSTC Criteria which include reference to plastic-related issues and promotion of establishing sustainable certification which pursue plastic reduction policies as part of a holistic take on sustainability.

  • Communicating successes to affiliated organisations and businesses, partners, travellers and key local stakeholder through promotion of success stories and case studies.


“GSTC has had a strong commitment to climate action and its promotion. There are strong elements of addressing, preparing and mitigating climate change in both the GSTC Industry Criteria and the GSTC Destination Criteria. These cascade widely across the world, not only by using the GSTC Criteria or GSTC-Recognized Standards, but also with the certification of accommodations, tour operators, and hotels as well as training or other activities based on the extensive reach of the GSTC Criteria. This naturally brought us to join as a supporting organization and founding signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.”
- Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chairman


Knowledge items


Destination Stewardship Report – Autumn 2020 (Volume 1, Issue 2): ‣ "The Greening of Gritty Ulsan, Korea" by Dr. Mihee Kang...


Summer 2020 Q3 (Volume 1, Issue 1): ‣ "GSTC's Crucial Criterion A1: Destination Management" - by Randy Durband, GSTC CEO...


Decades of unfettered growth in travel have put the world’s treasured places at risk – environmentally, culturally, socially...