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Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)



PATA endorses the work of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a non-profit organization unique in setting global standards and definitions for sustainability in travel and tourism.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) serves as the international body for fostering increased knowledge and understanding of sustainable tourism practices, promoting the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles and building demand for sustainable travel.  This is accomplished through the work executed by its diverse programs:  international standardsettingdestinationseducation and training, market access, and accreditation.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are recognized and endorsed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both of which are Permanent Members of the Board of Directors of the GSTC.

GSTC activities include:

  • Development and dissemination of criteria for sustainability:
  • Criteria for Hotels & Tour Operators developed in 2008
  • Criteria for Destinations developed in 2013
  • Recognition of certification bodies that follow GSTC criteria in their certification and ratings schemes for travel/tourism/hospitality companies and organization
  • Promotion and education of sustainability in travel and tourism

PATA joins the GSTC in recommending to all its members that they seek out GSTC-recognized certification and ratings schemes.  Currently, those that serve the Asia-Pacific region include:


Learn more about the Global Sustainable Tourism Council

Learn more about the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria




Join the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and leading sustainable tourism professionals in Huangshan, China from September 10-13 for GSTC’s 5th Annual General Meeting. The GSTC serves as the international body for establishing and managing the GSTC Criteria, the globally recognized standards for sustainable tourism. This 3-day event is open to everyone and will feature workshops, roundtable discussions and more. This year’s AGM will be hosted by Huangshan Scenic Area, a long-time GSTC Member and GSTC Early Adopter Destination. This is an exciting opportunity to network and share ideas with top sustainable tourism leaders, learn and discuss how practical applications of the GSTC Criteria, and experience sustainable tourism at a destination level. Learn More.

Huangshan, China

Mt. Huangshan, China


Sept 15-17 GSTC Sustainability Training Workshop

The GSTC, in association with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will be conducting a Sustainability Training Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand from September 15-17, 2015. The three-day course will cover topics such as: global trends in sustainable tourism, the GSTC Criteria for Hotels & Tour Operators, GSTC Criteria for Destinations and a comprehensive presentation on the GSTC Integrity Program. Also included in the itinerary will be a case study scenario, afternoon/evening field trip and interactive group work with syndicate sessions. A course manual and detailed notes are provided.

This opportunity is tailored for tourism and environmental professionals seeking education of sustainable tourism best practices. Hotel managers, destination planners and managers, protected area managers, architects, travel agents, academics and educators, developers, policy makers and regulators and tour operators, tourism certification and accreditation bodies, auditors will all benefit from the course.

The course has many interactive sessions with participants able to share experiences, successes and challenges in achieving sustainability for tourism. Given the global differences in culture, environment, social and economic conditions sustainability requires a local approach. The course outlines global best practices and more importantly provides a framework for local and tourism sector specific achievements of sustainability.

Who: Tourism and environmental professionals seeking education in sustainable tourism
What: 3-day Sustainability Training Program Workshop
When: September 15-17, 2015
Where: PATA Engagement Hub – Bangkok, Thailand

Read more.

For questions, email: