New York – The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to announce that its verification standard for tourism businesses has been recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) — the internationally recognized standard setter for sustainable tourism. This achievement reflects the credibility of the Rainforest Alliance’s work helping tourism businesses further their sustainability commitments.
The Rainforest Alliance’s work in sustainable tourism has had a measurable impact on the tourism industry, helping businesses run more efficiently and sustainably, while conserving the environment and helping local communities thrive. GSTC recognition substantiates this claim, and demonstrates the rigor of the Rainforest Alliance’s verification standard, now officially classified as equivalent to the GSTC Criteria — the global minimum requirements for tourism businesses of all size to approach sustainability.
“Knowing that our tools help companies meet the internationally recognized criteria of the GSTC adds further credibility to the Rainforest Alliance’s work in sustainable tourism, helping businesses adopt practices that promote conservation and sustainable livelihoods,” said Silvia Rioja, technical manager for sustainable tourism at the Rainforest Alliance. “It also gives us the opportunity to partner with and support other organizations equally committed to sustainable tourism development under the umbrella of the GSTC.”
Other standards recognized by the GSTC include those utilized by the Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT)’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), Fair Trade in Tourism for South Africa (FTTSA) and Sustainable Travel International’s Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP).
“Travelers and agencies need simple tools to find and purchase sustainable travel offerings,” said Leilani Latimer, GSTC board member and director of sustainability initiatives at Sabre Holdings, the parent company of Travelocity. “The global sustainable tourism criteria helps by harmonizing the numerous global certification programs in the marketplace to provide travelers with clear and trustworthy sustainable travel choices.”
The Rainforest Alliance has worked with hundreds of tourism businesses, helping them improve their environmental, social and economic practices. Through training and technical assistance, the organization teaches them how to operate sustainably and verifies their progress toward this goal. Those enterprises that meet comprehensive sustainability requirements are eligible to receive promotional benefits, including the use of the Rainforest Alliance Verified™ mark. The Rainforest Alliance was a founding member of the 2010 launch of the GSTC.