Joining with the Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the framework is based on thousands of best practice standards in use around the world. Developed to offer a common framework to guide the emerging industry of sustainable tourism and to help businesses, consumers, NGOs and education institutions to ensure that tourism helps local communities and the environment.
“Sustainability is just like the old business adage: ‘you don’t encroach on the principal, you live off the interest’. Unfortunately, up to this point, the travel industry and tourists haven’t had a common framework to let them know if they’re really living up to that maxim. But the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) will change that. This is a win-win initiative – good for the environment and good for the world’s tourism industry.”
Available at www.sustainabletourismcriteria.org, the criteria focuses on four areas experts recommended as the most critical aspects of sustainable tourism; maximising tourisms social and economic benefits to local communities, reducing negative impacts on cultural heritage, reducing harm to local environments and planning for sustainability.
A group of 27 organisations working together, the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) is working to foster increased understanding of sustainable tourism practices and the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles. Over the past 15 months the partnership consulted with sustainability experts and the tourism industry, reviewing more than 60 existing certification and voluntary sets of criteria already being used around the world.