The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announced that the Korean Ecotourism Standard for Destinations and the Korean Ecotourism Standard for Accommodations and Tours have achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized’ status.
The Korean Ecotourism Standards for Destinations and Accommodations and Tours have been developed to guide both public and private sectors to understand hands-on practices for sustainable ecotourism development and management and certify them so they can take a better position in the tourism market to distinguish them from any ecotourism products that may be guilty of “green-washing.”
Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.
“GSTC Recognition of a standard means that the standard, Korea Ecotourism Standard, in this case, includes the four pillars of sustainability inherent in the GSTC Criteria: management, social/community, cultural, and environmental issues,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.
“We see the opportunity for the Korean Ecotourism Standards to take more important roles for both public and private sectors as guidelines of sustainable ecotourism development and management,” says Mr.Kyu-Chul Yeo, Deputy Director from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST).
“The Korean Ecotourism Standards’ becoming GSTC-recognized status will help the Korean stakeholders to understand global standards and the GSTC Criteria. And it will help the Korean MCST push stakeholders, including itself, to move forward to take actions in the field” says Dr. Mihee Kang, GSTC Country Representative to Korea.
To date, 8 destination standards, and 29 hotels and tour operators standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.
The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria.
GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs.