Global Sustainable Tourism

Consultancy; offering one’s knowledge, expertise, and experience to individuals and organizations in need. However, as information changes, knowledge-based experience is also reshaped. I embarked on this journey with the mission of providing the best and most accurate service to my clients, aiming to offer more value. In pursuit of this goal, I closely follow changes and developments in global sustainable tourism education. Considering the fact that knowledge can change, I believe that consultancy services need to be supported with lifelong education. As Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.”

As a consultant specializing in tourism and finance, I must mention that I possess substantial knowledge and expertise in sustainable tourism. I believe that a background in sociology also contributes significantly to the sustainability approach. However, sustainability is a long-lasting and never-ending journey. I want to learn more and explore as I gather knowledge.

With this interest and curiosity, I consistently keep up with professional training programs and current tourism practices. In this context, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) training program, which was launched last May, caught my attention. I enrolled immediately. It was an internationally online program with over 55 students from 24 countries. The program spanned 4 weeks, including 4 exams and a rigorous final. I successfully completed it, and it was an incredibly beneficial experience. As a result, I proudly obtained the Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism, showcasing expertise in the field of Global Sustainable Tourism Standards and Practices

Global Sustainable Tourism Criterias

GSTC ( is a non-profit, independent, and impartial organization based in the United States. It was founded in 2007 by Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It serves as a global authority in sustainable tourism. That’s why I chose this organization.

Sustainability in tourism doesn’t only focus on preserving nature. It’s an approach that can be applied to all sectors, including tourism. When you start implementing sustainability principles, you realize that you can take your business to much stronger and profitable positions. These practices are, in fact, akin to project management.

Hotels, tour operators, and destinations that are part of this process distinguish themselves from their competitors. At the same time, they contribute socioeconomically to the community by protecting the environment and cultural heritage.

I must say that respect for the environment and the past, and the desire to protect and improve, are crucial for a country’s development. In this context, travelers, destinations, and businesses also want to be more sensitive and participatory.

Here, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes fundamental standards for sustainable tourism with its criteria. These are the minimum standards that should be met in the tourism sector for:

Tour operators

GSTC criteria are organized under four main headings:

  • Effective Sustainable Tourism Management
  • Socioeconomic Impacts and Local Benefits
  • Preservation of Heritage, Promotion of Community Benefits
  • Resource Management and Environmental Protection

Tourism companies, tour operators, hotels, and destinations aim to achieve the best global sustainability practices based on regional perspectives. For this purpose, they adopt the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, which are the minimum requirements. Additionally, the increasing demands of travelers aligned with sustainable tourism act as a driving force in this process.

In this regard, when we examine examples worldwide, we see exciting applications and incredible progress. For instance, a study conducted about lighthouses in Ireland at has created an exciting customer experience. Moreover, it has contributed to the region in a socio-cultural sense from a broad perspective. In these examples, the benefits of successful public and private sector partnerships can be observed.

There are many examples, and the applications are equally exciting…

Global Sustainable Tourism Education and Its Benefits

GSTC’s partnership with Trainingaid (, their sustainable tourism education partner, has enabled me to achieve significant gains in the following subject areas.

  • In-depth knowledge about the global criteria, which are fundamental standards for sustainability in travel and tourism,
  • Focusing on tangible action steps to implement the criteria,
  • Developing sustainable tourism policies and sustainability practices for businesses and/or destinations,
  • Engaging in group exercises and activities, sharing ideas and experiences with global sector stakeholders, and fostering collaborations,
  • Becoming a member of an international network, contributing and staying updated on current developments,
  • Participating in real-life experiences and applications,
  • Understanding and managing certification and accreditation processes, staying in touch with relevant organizations, (There are numerous international companies that provide certification for destinations, hotels, and businesses in sustainability. Choosing the right fit for the scope of operations is highly important.)

As Ayşe Nur İyiler, I continue my consultancy journey with the contributions of global sustainable tourism education. I will continue to share my knowledge and experiences with tourism businesses and destinations that aim to progress with sustainability principles.