Global Sustainable Tourism Council: Destination Partner Program
But travelers are increasingly focused on destinations which are perceived to be environmentally and socially responsible with authentic and compelling experience. As a result, destination managers need to be able to evaluate their performance, demonstrate their commitment, and communicate their Sustainability Story.
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.
Utilizing the GSTC’s assessment framework, destination stakeholders have the opportunity to come together and develop a collaborative analysis of their performance on the GSTC Criteria and Indicators, while making a public statement of leadership and commitment. Throughout the process, the assessment team works together in a focus group environment to discuss areas of strength and opportunity for the destination. The resulting report highlights good practice, suggests areas for improvement, and outlines clear recommendations. The destination can use this report to communicate with partners, generate positive PR, develop a focused action plan, or pursue destination certification of so desired.
Already 14 destinations worldwide have participated in this program, and many of them have gone on to implement new sustainability priorities and plans as a result. Destinations have also noted increased stakeholder collaboration, shared ownership over sustainability performance, and compelling story-lines for marketing and communications.
Pricing: $17,000-$21,000 for a full on-site assessment of the destination,depending on the number of annual arrivals.
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.
“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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