Sustainable Tourism and GSTC: One of Our New Projects

We’d like to think that we live our lives and travel according to a set of values, key among them respect — respect for other cultures, respect for the environment and respect for the complexities and nuances of the economic realities that face a growing planet. Until now, we just never labeled those values or the behaviors attached to them as “sustainable.”

So why are you telling us this now?

We are pleased to announce that we have been retained by the United Nations Foundation’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to develop and execute their social media strategy. And if you’re thinking that sustainable tourism is just about being eco-friendly, think again.  The GSTC views sustainability in tourism more broadly as “maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community; reduction of negative impacts to cultural heritage; and reduction of negative impacts on the environment.”

Global Sustainable Tourism Council

So, what does the GSTC do to accomplish this mission?

Among other things, the GSTC publishes a universal set of language and criteria that aim to “protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.”

Wow, that’s a mouthful! Maybe you’re thinking, “Sounds great so far, but how exactly does a set of criteria help do that?”

It does this in two directions.

First and foremost, tourism companies and destinations can follow the GSTC criteria and then be certified by a third party. This in itself is a good thing. Secondly, certification enables travel consumers to sift more easily through a sea of companies offering services that are “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” and to know which are the real deal and which are greenwashed.

Given our values here at Uncornered Market, our approach to travel and the focus of our blog, we see this cooperation as a natural fit. We look forward to continuing the conversation, helping to advance the issues of sustainable tourism and evolving the discourse from the theoretical to the applied. We are also excited to promote the idea that an increased awareness and understanding of sustainability can translate into individual actions that register a measurable cumulative effect.

As stewards of the GSTC social media channels, we plan to build a stream of high quality content on the topic of sustainable tourism that further encourages discourse, awareness and action. If you have an interest in sustainable tourism or you’d like to learn more about travel organizations and companies that are actively applying these principles, we encourage you to follow GSTC on Twitter and Facebook.

For those of you already active and engaged in the sustainable tourism community, we invite you to share with us through the GSTC channels your experiences, initiatives, and impressions.

Travel well. Travel forever. We look forward to continuing the sustainable tourism conversation with you!

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Comments

  1. Warren Phillip says

    What a fantastic project to be involved with, particularly as if it’s done correctly it can make such a difference to tourism.

  2. says

    @Warren: Thank you! We also agree that sustainable tourism done well can make a huge difference in the lives of local people and environments. This is what we’re working towards with this cooperation!

    @Ayngelina: Gracias!! We’re excited about this new project!

  3. says

    Huge congrats to you both, this fits so well with your values and the message you have consistently shared on UM and is the such a great way for you to continue spreading that awareness and building up new channels. I’m eager to see the news and information you are able to find for the Council, and how this new job develops for you. :)

  4. says

    Awesome, you guys. I’m really glad to see you taking the lead on this one. I admire that you’re able to do what you do in a responsible and respectful way. Keep it up!

  5. says

    I am so thrilled about this news — you two are perfect for this assignment. And it’s also great to see travel bloggers getting this kind of validation and recognition, too.

    I have been blogging about cultural immersion, responsible travel and respecting the culture/country you are in for years; I am so glad that these values are becoming more common and supported, cheers,

    Mariellen

  6. Madhu Bhardwaj says

    Well done guys! So what does this mean exactly? Will you be travelling as usual and also managing this project or will you be staying put in one place and then doing it?

  7. says

    Thank you everyone for the feedback and support!

    @Madhu:  Good question.  For Uncornered Market readers, there will be little change.  Maybe an article or two more here and there regarding sustainable tourism.  Otherwise, the same type and style of quality content. Our work with GSTC is a part-time contract, so it’s not as though it’s going to consume our lives, but rather be a part of our broader story.

    @Brian:  Laughing out loud!  So do we.

  8. says

    @Mariellen: Your point regarding this as validation that travel bloggers can be viewed as professionals is well taken. Many bloggers like us have a collection of pre-blog professional skills that we’ve added to with the new skills we’ve developed for blogging and social media.

    We’re heartened to see more organizations valuing these professional skills and experiences to work towards common goals.

  9. Sutapa says

    What I meant is, the job is a great fit because you two really live up to the values of sustainability as well as others (such as respecting other cultures etc).

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