UNWTOUNWTO1 May 2020 -  For many millions of people around the world, tourism is so much more than a leisure activity.

Our sector gives them the chance to make a living. To earn not just a wage, but also dignity and equality. Tourism jobs also empower people and provide a chance to have a stake in their own societies – often for the first time.

This is what is at risk right now.

The International Labor Organization, a fellow UN agency of UNWTO, has raised the alarm: As many as 1.6 billion individuals worldwide could be affected by a loss of working hours as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fairbnb COVID relief campaign

2 April 2020 - Fairbnb.coop, the new platform for sustainable tourism, launched its COVID-19 relief campaign #IStayHome & #TravelTomorrow, how does it work? The proceeds of future trips will be immediately used to support doctors, nurses and health personnel on the front line against COVID-19 in the active communities in Italy. 

A simple message for future guests of our cities: by booking today, while we stay at home, we can immediately contribute to the fight against Coronavirus and at the same time plan a sustainable holiday, helping Italy to recover.

Never as in this time the society in which we live seems fragile: economic and environmental crises and now the spectre of a pandemic is eroding our habits and safety. Tourism, among all sectors, has proven to be the most vulnerable: the necessary limitations and precautions for the Coronavirus emergency have exposed all its fragility and contradictions.

The booking platforms have recorded a collapse in bookings made for these and the coming months, however, placing the burden mainly on the shoulders of the owners and managers of the properties. A serious blow especially for the Hosts that we consider sustainable, those who host in their home or have at most one home on the tourist market: families who integrate their income without damaging the social fabric of their city.

Sustainable Travel Ireland

Sustainable Travel Ireland has formally adopted the GSTC Industry Criteria to be used in Ireland by accommodations and tour operators.

Sustainable Travel Ireland, formerly Ecotourism Ireland, is Ireland’s leading and longest-running body for the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism, training and certifying businesses for over 10 years.  Founded in 2009, Ecotourism Ireland set out to develop ecotourism in Ireland, and to highlight the best of what the country had to offer whilst ensuring its heritage and environment were preserved for this and future generations. Today, Sustainable Travel Ireland has the same mission but broader, aiming to drive the development of a new, sustainable model for ALL tourism in Ireland.  

Madrid, 22 January 2020: The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is officially announced today by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to tackle the root causes of plastic pollution, enabling businesses and governments to take joint action.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is ground-breaking and ambitious in its goals. It aims to reduce the amount of plastic pollution caused by the tourism sector. To achieve this vision, tourism companies and destinations will be required to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025, including to: 

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025; 
  • Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives by 2025; 
  • Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable; 
  • Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used; 
  • Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics; 
  • Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets. 

Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the release of the GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0, which had been under development for most of 2019.
GSTC Criteria serve as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification. To date, two sets of GSTC Criteria have been developed: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (1) Sustainable management; (2) Socioeconomic impacts; (3) Cultural impacts; and (4) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes).

Athens, 20 January 2020 - The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has announced a new sustainable tourism seminar in Athens, through the GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP).

According to Sustainability Leaders, this particular seminar is the most recognised and trustworthy training program globally for certifying professionals in the field of Sustainable Tourism. Recent statements by the Greek Ministry of Tourism reveal that Sustainability will be one pillar, perhaps the most important, of the new national 10 Year Tourism Strategy while education and certification of individuals in the principles of sustainability and global affairs also becomes a primary objective!


The GSTC 2019 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference “Navigating the Way Forward” that took place on December 4th-7th in Terceira Island, the Azores, brought together 250 delegates from 42 countries, along with hundreds of viewers that watched the live broadcasting of the conference.

The Conference themes were: (A) Sustainable Destination Management; (B) Market Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Products; and (C) Tourism Response to Climate Change

“Our challenge is twofold: we need to create effective and practical tools to mainstream sustainability in tourism and to convince those skeptical decision-makers, who are not ready nor convinced, to evolve from their ‘business as usual’ methods. This has been our goal at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council for the last 12 years,” said GSTC Chair, Mr. Luigi Cabrini, mentioned the following achievements of GSTC: The Criteria for Destinations and the Industry are widely recognized by the public and the private sectors as relevant instruments to inform strategies and planning of central and regional governments, destinations, hotel chains, tour operators, etc. The Accreditation Program for certification bodies is steadily progressing despite its novelty when compared with other sectors and the difficulties deriving from the complexity and the transverse nature of the tourism chain. Every year several hundreds of people with responsibilities in tourism receive training, tailored to their needs, on the use of the criteria. Finally, the GSTC has made important steps forward to position sustainable tourism in the markets, a key factor for any change to be relevant at the global level.
“Of course, much remains to be done and we are just one of the many organizations committed, in different ways, to promote and to implement more responsible practices in a difficult context,” concluded Mr. Cabrini (full speech). 

Madrid, 5 December 2019: Airlines, oil companies, and individuals are using voluntary carbon markets to achieve net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at levels not seen in seven years, according to Financing Emissions Reductions for the Future: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2019, which was published by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace initiative today at year-end climate talks (COP25) in Madrid, Spain.

“Companies feel an urgency to reduce their emissions, but they can’t eliminate them internally overnight,” said Michael Jenkins, President and CEO of Forest Trends. “Many are now using voluntary carbon markets to offset those emissions they can’t eliminate until they can transition to new technologies.”

London, 18 November, 2019 - Travelife for Accommodation, an international accommodation sustainability certification scheme, and Ecotourism Kenya, a regional sustainability label, have signed an agreement to collaborate on certification for accommodation providers in Kenya. This collaboration will enable Kenyan properties to achieve both the Ecotourism Kenya label and the internationally recognised Travelife Gold Certification after an onsite audit that will be conducted by auditors working for Ecotourism Kenya that have been specially trained by Travelife.

"By collaborating with Travelife, we are making it simpler for Kenyan accommodation providers to demonstrate their commitment to operating responsibly at an international and local level so that visitors to Kenya can rely on Travelife and Ecotourism Kenya certification." said Grace Nderitu, CEO of Ecotourism Kenya.

November 18, 2019 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that Hilton’s corporate responsibility management system has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

Hilton is the first major hotel company to achieve this recognition. In 2009, Hilton launched LightStay, its award-winning platform that enables the company to track its environmental and social impact across its entire global portfolio of nearly 6,000 managed and franchised hotels. Originally designed to track environmental data, LightStay has evolved to measure, manage and report all of Hilton’s environmental and social metrics.

LightStay tracks energy, carbon, water and waste data, as well as social impact metrics including local sourcing, youth training and volunteer hours. LightStay also captures detailed information on hotels’ operational practices and sustainability certifications, and provides localized risk indices on the most material issues for the company, such as disaster vulnerability, water risk or modern slavery risk, to inform each hotel’s priorities. Through the use of LightStay, every property in Hilton’s portfolio is certified to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management).