Global Sustainable Tourism Council GSTC Industry Criteria, with suggested performance indicators for tour operators

“The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria were created to provide a common understanding throughout the world of “sustainable tourism”, and are the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment. They have applicability to the entire tourism industry…

Some of the uses of the criteria include the following:

• Serve as the basis for certification for sustainability.

• Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes to become more sustainable, and help businesses choose sustainable tourism programmes that fulfill these global criteria.

• Provide greater market access in the growing market for sustainable products, serving as guidance both for travellers and for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programmes.

• Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programmes and businesses.

• Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize sustainable tourism providers.

• Help certification and other voluntary programmes ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline.

• Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programmes a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements.

• Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as hotel schools and universities.

• Demonstrate leadership that inspires others to act” (pp.1-2).