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Tuesday, 12 November 2013 03:25

GSTC Releases New Destination Criteria

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Sustainable tourism is on the rise: Consumer demand is growing, travel industry suppliers are developing new green programs, and governments and international agencies are creating new policies to encourage sustainable practices in tourism. But what does “sustainable tourism” really mean? How can it be measured and credibly demonstrated to build consumer confidence, promote business prosperity, foster community benefits, and fight false claims?


Announcing The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinationsa global effort creating a common understanding of what constitutes sustainable destinations. The criteria are the minimum undertakings a destination should achieve. The criteria focus on an integrative, interdisciplinary, holistic approach that includes four main objectives: to (1) demonstrate sustainable destination management; (2) maximize social and economic benefits for the host community and minimize negative impacts; (3) maximize benefits to communities, visitors, and cultural heritage and minimize impacts; and (4) maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts. The criteria are designed to be used by all types and scales of destinations.

The criteria are part of the response by the tourism community to the global challenges presented by the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Poverty alleviation, gender equity, and environmental sustainability, including climate change, are the main cross-cutting issues that are addressed through the criteria. 

"Our deepest gratitude goes to all the participants in this process, the volunteers, the NGOs, the Certification Bodies, all the stakeholders actively involved for some years in this wonderful project on a global basis," said Mauro Marrocu, GSTC CEO. "Above all, our gratitude goes to the Early Adopters, brave and committed Destinations that have provided the immensely important field testing of the GSTC Criteria. From now on, all Destinations in the world willing to demonstrate their leadership in sustainability will as well be able to obtain from the GSTC, its Partner NGOs, and its Partner Certification Bodies a full set of services to support them, from on-site evaluation, to training, to full certification. We'll be delighted to provide them with the best tools at our disposal, and be at their side in their quest to secure a sustainable future through tourism to their populations, environment, and enterprises."

The Destination Criteria and indicators were developed based on already recognized criteria and approaches including, for example, the UNWTO destination level indicators, GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, and other widely accepted principles and guidelines, certification criteria and indicators. They reflect certification standards, indicators, criteria, and best practices from different cultural and geopolitical contexts around the world in tourism and other sectors where applicable. Potential indicators were screened for relevance and practicality, as well as their applicability to a broad range of destination types.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are administered by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

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

  • 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, nongovernmental, 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.

This updated version of GSCT Criteria proposes the minimum, not the maximum, that businesses and destinations should achieve to approach social, environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.

The GSTC does not aim to certify destinations as sustainable; rather, the council will review existing certification standards and acknowledge those that meet their criteria. However, any destination will be able to use the new criteria as a guide to becoming environmentally, culturally, and socially sustainable.

Source: Widness & Wiggins PR Photo: stock.xchng

Read 1310 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 03:25

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