The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the recent launch of the GSTC Destinations Program. For all destinations, even those with no previous experience with sustainability, the GSTC Destinations Program offers valuable engagement with a GSTC destination expert providing custom guidance on the world’s leading destination sustainability standard: the GSTC Criteria for Destinations. The Destinations Program offers 2 key resources for destinations: Destination Assessments and Destination Sustainability Training.
“For the first time, the GSTC is offering destinations direct guidance from a GSTC expert onsite,” said Kathleen Pessolano, Director of the GSTC’s new Destinations Program. “We work directly with destination stakeholders to apply the GSTC Criteria, to highlight areas of good practice and identify risks that jeopardize destination resources and may concern potential investors.”
The GSTC Destination Assessment onsite process allows a destination to participate directly in GSTC application of the Criteria to the destination, to understand the destination’s sustainability status against the world’s leading standard, and to identify areas for improvement based on the GSTC Criteria. Two types of Destination Assessments are offered: 1) a 3-day Snapshot Assessment, or 2) a 10-day Comprehensive Assessment.
The Comprehensive Assessment builds upon the multi-stakeholder assessment that 14 Early Adopter destinations were selected to participate in during pilot testing of the GSTC Criteria before their launch in 2013. Both types of GSTC Assessments are led by GSTC experts with global experience in the practical evaluation of sustainability and best practices globally, and a thorough understanding of the GSTC Criteria for Destinations.
The GSTC also offers customized Destination Sustainability Training by GSTC approved trainers. The 3-5 day training program can be integrated within or pre/post the Destination Assessment. GSTC Training can be delivered as a full capacity building program on both sets of GSTC Criteria for Hotels & Tour Operators and Destinations, with the recommended audience including tourism industry, public and private sector stakeholders, and the destination management team.
The purpose of the program is to increase the capacity for destination managers and their key stakeholders to design policies and practices that maximize benefits from tourism development while minimizing negative impacts to destinations. For some destinations, sustainability certification is useful, and the GSTC Destinations Program can help prepare interested destinations for future application for certification by a GSTC Recognized standard.