Washington, D.C. – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recently announced that the Travelife Standard for Tour Operators and Travel Agents has achieved ‘recognized’ certification status. This is the first standard for tour operators and travel agents to receive certification from the GSTC. The awarded status benchmarks its commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services recognized by the GSTC.
“By committing to sustainable tourism standards, Travelife is providing tourists with socially and environmentally responsible travel opportunities,” said Leilani Latimer, Director, Sustainability Initiatives, Sabre Holdings and GSTC Board Member. “We commend Travelife for becoming the first standard for tour operators and travel agents.”
Travelife has committed to using the GSTC Criteria – the first and only global framework for defining a sustainable travel benchmark – as the reference for its sustainable travel criteria. Rigorous review and authorization procedures have determined that Travelife’s Tour Operator and Travel Agent standard is considered equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria; the worldwide minimum requirement for tourism businesses of all size to approach sustainability.
“I am delighted that the Travelife for Tour Operators and Travel Agents standard has achieved GSTC Recognition,” said Naut Kusters, manager of Travelife for Tour Operators. “It will provide direction to committed tour operators and recognition for front runners. The standard is comprehensive and profound and has integrated leading global standards and guidelines for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Thanks to the support of the European Union, the Travelife Sustainability System is already promoted by more than 15 national travel associations,” Kusters said.
To date, 15 standards (including Travelife for Tour Operators) have received the GSTC-recognized status including:
- Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations
- Austrian Ecolabel for Tourism (Österreichisches Umweltzeichen)
- Biosphere Responsible Tourism
- Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) for hotels
- EarthCheck Company Standard
- Eco-Certification Malta
- Ecotourism Australia’s ecotourism standard
- Ecotourism Australia’s advanced ecotourism standard
- Ecotourism Ireland Certification Programme
- European Ecotourism Labeling Standard (EETLS)
- Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA)
- Japan Environmentally Sustainable Accommodations International Standard (ESAIS)
- Rainforest Alliance standard for tourism operations
- Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP)
- Travelife Sustainability System for Hotels and Accommodations
Each of the GSTC-recognized organizations has taken the first of three steps in establishing the GSTC process. Phases of establishing the global benchmark include recognizing the GSTC standard; evaluation of certification process for transparency by a third party; full GSTC-accreditation (beginning December 2014).
The GSTC will continue to work with standard owners around the world to provide GSTC recognition. All standards are encouraged to apply for GSTC-recognized status and all certification programs to apply for Approval. To learn more about the GSTC process please visit the GSTC website http://www.gstcouncil.org/.