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ATTA President Shannon Stowell Joins Global Sustainable Tourism Council Board of Directors

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Commits to Multi-Year Initiative to Educate Travelers on Sustainable Tourism

New York and Washington (September 29, 2010) –The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) announced today that its president, Shannon Stowell, has joined the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), an international partnership dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices around the world.

Founded in partnership by the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, UN Foundation, Rainforest Alliance, Sabre/Travelocity and others, the GSTC is open to any member of the travel and tourism industries.

“The ATTA membership represents hundreds of businesses worldwide, most of which have a strong commitment to sustainable business practices,” said Stowell.  “We explored the possibility of creating a certification program for adventure tourism, but it became clear that an umbrella approach for the existing certification programs would better serve the industry, bring more consistency and set a true standard.  This is what we found in the GSTC. We’re prepared to contribute to a vision that encourages and stimulates the travel industry worldwide toward more sustainable and responsible operations.”

“We are pleased that Mr. Stowell is joining our Board of Directors. The tourism industry is growing and we have a responsibility to ensure that growth is done in a responsible way,” said Erika Harms, Executive Director of the GSTC. “We look forward to working with the ATTA to help lead our organization’s efforts to implement and explain sustainable tourism so that it becomes as ubiquitous as travel itself.  The adventure tourism business is full of entrepreneurs, so often innovation comes from this category and we hope to see this applied to sustainability.”

The GSTC is made up of members of the tourism and travel industry, including UN agencies, tour operators, travel companies, individual hotels and government tourism councils. Members include: Adventure Travel and Trade Association; American Society of Travel Agents; Audubon International; Belize Tourism Board; Big Five Tours and Expeditions, Inc.; Blackstone Valley Tourism Council; Center for Responsible Travel; Certificaciones de Centroamerica; S.A. Sustainable Tourism; Consorcio Cooperativa Red Eco turística Nacional; Destination Ventures; Earthcheck; European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism; Eco and Sustainable Tourism Israel; Ecosustainability; Ecotourism Australia; ECOTRANS; Enclave Rising, LLC; Fairmont Hotels and Resorts; Federación Colombiana De Ecoparques; Fundacion Plan 21; GAP Adventures/Planeterra; Global Center of Excellence for Destination; Green Globe Certification; Green Seal; HM Design; Hostelling International; Instituto de Turismo Responsable; InterContinental Barclay New York; Mexico Tourism Board; Nordic World Heritage Foundation; Our Native Village; Pacific Asia Tourism Pty Ltd; Pronatura Sur, A.C.; Rainforest Alliance; Rara Avis Rainforest Lodge & Reserve; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd; and Sabre Holdings.

The GSTC includes partners from around the globe, and is currently active in Africa, the Americas, Middle East, and East Asia. More than 170 US cities have already adopted the GSTC’s criteria, including San Francisco, CA; Miami, FL; Maui, HI; and Los Angeles, CA.

Over the next three years, the GSTC will work with the members in each region to promote sustainable tourism principles, as well as encourage the adoption of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.  As part of the initiative, each member is committing to promote the GSTC to its customers, vendors and peers. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee long-term sustainability.

More information about the GSTC is available at

About the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)

Established in 1990, the Seattle-based ATTA ( is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, networking, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market. The ATTA’s membership, now representing more than 650 members in 70 countries, includes tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, specialty travel agents, guides, accommodations, media and service providers. Host of the annual Adventure Travel World Summit executive trade conferences (, the ATTA also makes possible www.Adventure.Travel, the traveler’s hub of physical, cultural and nature-based adventure travel and guide to trusted tour operators from around the globe.

About the GSTC

The GSTC is a global initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices around the world. We work to: expand understanding of and access to sustainable tourism practices; educate about – and advocate for – a set of universal principles that define sustainable tourism; and generate markets for sustainable tourism.  At the core of our efforts are the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for the sustainability of tourism businesses across the globe. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Chris Doyle, ATTA, 916.847.0261 [email protected]

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