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STEP Into Sustainability

GSTC and STSC: Better Together
By now, many have likely heard of the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), a collaboration of 50 organizations working together to foster increased understanding of sustainable tourism practices and the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles. They’ve specifically defined a minimum standard that tourism businesses can aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for poverty alleviation. In other words, they define what it means to be “green”, helping to address the issue of greenwashing.

The Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council’s (STSC) is the proposed accreditation body that would essentially accredit companies that have sustainable tourism standards which are designed to certify tourism businesses, helping to answer the question “who certifies the certifiers”? The STSC’s mission is to enhance the sustainability of tourism operations by ensuring better environmental and social performance, and improved economic benefits to local communities and to certified businesses worldwide.

In what seems like a natural pairing, the GSTC and STSC have recently merged to form the Tourism Sustainability Council (TSC), a global membership council that will offer a common understanding of sustainable tourism and the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles and criteria. The TSC will bring together tourism businesses working toward sustainability performance, governments, UN bodies, research and academic institutions, social and environmental NGOs, certification programs, and other stakeholders from around the world.

With a combined mission of providing education and raising awareness, stimulating and rewarding improved sustainability performance in tourism, and meeting consumer and market demand for more sustainable travel options, the TSC will offer a common framework for sustainable tourism and provide tools for accreditation as the industry works to ensure that tourism helps rather than hinders local communities and environments.

The TSC will address the following objectives:
• Foster public and private tourism sector awareness about the importance of sustainable tourism;
• Develop knowledge-sharing, communications and educational tools and disseminating existing ones that can help the tourism industry work towards improved sustainability performance;
• Help businesses identify self-assessment and verification services that can help them get started or advance in their sustainability efforts (with an eye towards eventually facilitating businesses transition to the accreditation program);
• Foster business-to-business solutions that will facilitate wider market access for sustainable tourism products, especially those that have been certified under a TSC-accredited program;
• Develop baseline criteria and performance indicators for all relevant sectors of the tourism industry and leading public consultation on those criteria and indicators in compliance with ISEAL;
• Develop the procedural criteria that certification programs must meet in order to be accredited, including initial assessment and auditing to assure transparency and compliance on an on-going basis, and to establish dispute settlement procedures and address other related issues;
• Accredit certification programs that meet or exceed both baseline criteria and indicators and procedural criteria; and
• Communicate and promote to the industry and consumers sustainable businesses that have been certified under an accredited program.

For more information, please visit
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council.

This article is quoted from the Responsible Travel Report The Sustainable Tourism e-Newsletter Vol. 7 No. 10, October 2009 from STI.

This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Cooperation and network, Education and qualification, Performance and management.

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