Standards as a Tool for Sustainable Development of Tourism Destinations

Authors: Kathleen Pessolano*, Global Sustainable Tourism Council
Topics: Sustainability Science
Keywords: sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The marketplace for "sustainability" is rife with consumer confusion, and the travel and tourism sector is no exception. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) was established under the United Nations Foundation In 2011, to set standards defining "sustainable" tourism to guide destinations and companies in developing and managing tourism that benefits rather than harms tourism communities to the maximum extent possible. To date, GSTC has created three standards--one for hotels, one for tour operators, and one for destinations--all of which present recommended policies and practices for these organizations along the four key pillars of sustainable tourism. These are: (1) overall sustainability management, (2) social and economic benefits to destination communities, (3) protecting and conveying culture and heritage, and (4) environment and natural resources. I will provide an overview of how companies and destinations are applying the GSTC framework as a recipe for sustainable tourism development. I will conclude with the example of St. Kitts, which is nicely complementing GSTC's framework with that of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program in one particular community, the St. Mary's Biosphere Reserve. This will lead into my co-presenter Dr. Joyelle Clarke's examination of environmental education within the St. Mary's Biosphere Reserve.

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