WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announced that the GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Standard (version 2) for Lodging and Tour Operators has achieved the “GSTC-Recognized Standard” status.
GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism standard is part of their broader Sustainable Tourism 2030 initiative, which provides programs and services for destinations, tourism businesses, and accommodation providers. The Sustainable Tourism standard enables tourism businesses and accommodations to measure their sustainability performance in several key categories; management, social, economic, natural, cultural, and environmental. To become certified, businesses must receive a virtual assessment, submit evidence, and attain a minimum score.
The GSTC-Recognized status refers to GreenStep’s Sustainable Tourism standard and means that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards are based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Environment, Social, Cultural, and Management principles. This does not relate to the process of certification, nor to accreditation.
Meets GSTC Criteria
“GreenStep takes a very systematic approach to sustainable tourism,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, “further evidenced by taking this step to ensure that their standards used for their programs for businesses complies with the globally and inclusively managed GSTC Criteria.”
“This is an incredible milestone for our organization, for our Sustainable Tourism certified business members, and for our destination partners,” says Angela Nagy, CEO of GreenStep. “Tourism businesses can use this standard to assess their level of sustainability, develop an action plan for improvement, and achieve certification, all in alignment with internationally relevant sustainable tourism goals and objectives.”
Currently, 11 destination standards, 34 hotel standards, and 32 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparency, and rigor. List of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here.