The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) was unveiled at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. This new framework was arrived at by looking at more than 4,500 criteria in use around the world, and consulting more than 80,000 people. A coalition of 27 tourism and environmental groups came together with the idea to eliminate greenwashing in a industry that continues to grow rapidly.
“Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries and a strong contributor to sustainable development and poverty alleviation,” said Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. “Over 900 million international tourists travelled last year and UNWTO forecasts 1.6 billion tourists by the year 2020. In order to minimize the negative impacts of this growth, sustainability should translate from words to facts, and be an imperative for all tourism stakeholders. The GSTC initiative will undoubtedly constitute a major reference point for the entire tourism sector and an important step in making sustainability an inherent part of tourism development.”
While tourism is a strong contributor to economic growth in developing countries, the impacts have also included habitat degradation, pollution and resource pressures. Read more on this topic at the Worldwatch Institute.