The Global Sustainable Tourism Council is developing a set of Destination Criteria and Indicators, in an effort to expand its promotion of sustainable tourism principles. The GSTC Criteria for Destinations describe the minimum standards that a destination must reach in order to move toward social, cultural, and environmental sustainability—maintaining the cultural and natural attractions that tourists come to see, while benefiting the local population.
Currently in its Early Adopters phase, the GSTC’s newest endeavor is meant to complement existing criteria for hotels and tour operators. Sustainable Travel International was chosen by the GSTC’s Destination Steering Committee as the consultancy for development and implementation for Phase 1 in 2012, and is expanding this effort to a Phase 2 in 2013. Sustainable Travel International’s team is visiting each Early Adopter destination to meet and consult with key stakeholders including the destination management organization, tourism private sector, and other government agencies.
- Evaluate existing sustainable tourism standards for destinations
- Undertake a thorough public consultation and stakeholder engagement process
- Develop baseline sustainable tourism criteria and performance indicators for destinations
- Undertake a pilot launch of the criteria and indicators to validate the range and clarity of the criteria and indicators, identify any issues not covered by the indicators, and conduct a GSTC good practice evaluation
- Piloted an Early Adopters phase, consisting of six destinations around the world: Okavango Delta, Botswana; Mount Huangshan Scenic Area, China; Lanzarote; Fjord Norway, Norway; St. Kitts and Nevis; and Teton County, Wyoming, USA
- Selected to lead a Phase 2 Pilot designed to implement feedback from Round 1 while improving the criteria and indicators.