Sustainable Travel International


Global Sustainable Tourism Council: Destination Partner Program

Destination sustainability is in the spotlight.  For many years, sustainability efforts in the industry have been focused on accommodations and other tourism service providers.

But travelers and sellers of travel are increasingly making decisions on the basis of which destinations are perceived as environmentally and socially responsible. Destination management authorities need to be able to communicate and back-up their sustainability positioning with tangible evidence of destination commitment.

Destination Criteria and Indicators

In November 2013, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council launched the GSTC-Destination Criteria. This set of criteria and indicators, which complement the existing framework for hotels and tour operators, encompasses the most widely accepted sustainable tourism practices for destinations.  The criteria and indicators are available as guidelines for any stakeholder interested in managing tourism sustainability at the destination level.

In 2014, the GSTC launched its Destination Partner Program in order to help destinations benefit from these guidelines. The program consists of a menu of options for destinations to use to improve their business practices. These options are offered in collaboration with Sustainable Travel International, an NGO with expertise in the design and implementation of sustainable tourism solutions for destinations, through a non-exclusive partnership.

Destination Partner Program options:


Destinations learn how to implement the GSTC-Criteria and Indicators. Curriculum includes hands-on learning and group-discussion, and provides participants with access to the GSTC- Destination Matrix for self-assessment purposes. Outcomes of the training include improved destination planning and management strategies, preparation for a GSTC-Evaluation.

Pricing: $18,000 for a 2-3 day on-site training for destination managers on how to implement the GSTC Criteria and Indicators


Destinations which are already implementing sustainability practices will be interested in a destination assessment, which provides them with a trained destination specialist and an analysis of their readiness and performance on the GSTC Criteria and Indicators. The assessment outlines good practice, areas for improvement, and recommendations to consider implementing. Fourteen destinations worldwide have participated in this program, and many of them have gone on to implement new sustainability priorities and plans as a result.

Pricing: $30,000 for a full 10-12 day on-site assessment of the destination.

Global Networking

GSTC and Sustainable Travel International both offer networking opportunities for destinations. Now in collaboration, GSTC’s Destination Membership and Sustainable Travel International’s Sustainable Destination Leadership Network (SDLN) are  being offered to destinations with one package price, providing destinations with unparalleled opportunities for global networking and collaboration.

Pricing: $6,000-$8,000, includes combined participation in the Sustainable Destination Leadership Network and GSTC’s membership, an unparalleled opportunity for learning, idea sharing, advocacy, and collaboration on a global scale.


Past webinars

Click here to watch a more in depth webinar about the GSTC Destination Partner Program. Hear from destinations who have participated in it, including Mara Naboisho Conservancy and Turismo Lanzarote.


  • “From the evaluation, we recognize a great opportunity to monitor and report on our impacts going forward, so that we can celebrate our success, identify improvements, and collaborate both regionally and across the globe.”

    – Lars Lindkvist, Chair, Mara Naboisho Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

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