GSTC for Governments & Destinations

Tourism public policy-makers and destination managers wish to include effective and credible sustainable tourism policies in their strategic plans. The GSTC offers support to public sector authorities in the development of broadly-applied policies and institutional structures that ensure sustainability in tourism and destination management is systematized, coherent, put into practice, measured, and monitored.

Adhere to the GSTC Destination Criteria

Public sector tourism policy-makers and destination managers throughout the world turn to the GSTC Destination Criteria for guidance in developing policy, raising awareness and conducting training, and for use as a framework for national or localized sustainability standards. GSTC urges policy-makers and destination managers to pledge to adhere to the GSTC Destination Criteria.

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. The GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0 is the first revision to GSTC Destination Criteria. The GSTC-D v2 includes performance indicators designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the Criteria. Application of the criteria will help a destination to contribute towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

For Tourism Policy-Makers

Ensure that your national, provincial, or municipal tourism policies include all elements of sustainable tourism by learning and applying the GSTC Criteria and framework. Develop plans for policy-makers and destination managers to increase awareness of the issues, effectiveness, and confidence in their strategic direction for sustainable tourism.

GSTC can assist in working towards harmonization of standards already available or planned for national and local governments. Confusion in both the private and public sectors can be reduced by learning how to apply various types of standards and certification schemes in a systematic manner.

For Destination Managers

Managing destinations sustainably requires a process of continuous improvement. The GSTC Criteria provides the framework and GSTC’s network of expert partners and resources can be applied to simplify the process of making destination policies and management practices more sustainable. GSTC believes that sustainability is a journey. We offer this roadmap in that journey toward greater sustainability.

The first steps include raising awareness of sustainable tourism concepts by key leaders and stakeholders, and of the current situation at your destination. We recommend training and conducting some form of evaluation or assessment of the destination’s current practices.

To manage for continuous improvement we strongly recommend compliance to Criterion A1 of the GSTC Destination Criteria, the creation of a multi-sector group that ensures sustainability is inherent in all practices of the public and private sectors at the destination.

GSTC Destination Assessments are conducted by GSTC’s own internal expert assessors. A GSTC Destination Assessment is made of how well your policies and practices adhere to the GSTC Destination Criteria, a useful tool for understanding how sustainable are your current practices and learning where to improve and where to maintain good practice. GSTC Assessors utilize the GSTC Destination Criteria.

GSTC Accredited Certification Bodies can also conduct assessments based on their GSTC-Recognized standards. Destinations that are considering sustainable certification in the future may wish to engage directly with one of those organizations.

Join a Training on the GSTC Criteria

The GSTC offers Sustainable Destination Management Training by GSTC authorized trainers. GSTC Training sessions can be customized for destination managers (usually 2-3 days). Staff training on the GSTC Criteria is available from the GSTC with frequent online classes and by special arrangement for on-site training sessions.

The GSTC Trainers are also approved assessors of destination sustainability and can integrate a training program with a destination assessment. The GSTC can tailor a program to the destinations needs and will advise a fee accordingly.

Become Certified

Being a Certified Destination means that your destination complies with the highest social and environmental standards on the market. As public concern grows about the harmful effects and the positive impacts of travel and tourism, Certification provides you a credible solution to complex environmental and social issues.

Join GSTC as a Member

Join GSTC as a member organization to stay informed of key developments, and to learn from others in our network. Being a GSTC member means actively participating in our global community who represent a wide range of tourism stakeholders – from UN agencies to leading international tour operators, to government organizations and national tourism boards, and to local and international hospitality brands.

Getting Started

GSTC launches Destination Stewardship Starter Kit

The Destination Stewardship Starter Kit was developed to support destinations in their transition towards a stewardship approach. It is intended for destination managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders who are involved in tourism development and management, including public and private sectors, community members, and non-governmental organizations. It is particularly relevant for destinations where there is external pressure to better manage tourism impacts, or when an essential shift to destination stewardship is recognized.

Case Studies and Examples

The Destination Stewardship Report is an e-quarterly collaboration between the Destination Stewardship Center and Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Its goal is to provide practical information and insights useful to anyone whose work or interests involve improving destination stewardship in a post-pandemic world. The Destination Stewardship Report includes examples, case studies, and stories from different destinations around the world.

Certified Destination Map

Travelers and tourism professionals want to know where sustainable tourist destinations are. Such destinations are sometimes referred to as eco-destinations (or eco tourist destinations), although the environment is only one aspect of sustainable tourism according to the GSTC Criteria.

View the map featuring destinations that have been certified as sustainable tourist destinations by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body.