GSTC launches India Working Group
Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) launches India Working Group on November 10. To mark the launch , the GSTC held a public webinar on the same day titled “Unpacking Sustainable Tourism in India through the lens of the GSTC Criteria.”
Keynote talk was given by Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, addressing the move of the tourism industry towards more sustainable practices.
CB Ramkumar, Board Member & South Asia Director, GSTC, provided an overview of the GSTC Criteria and its relevancy to India. Randy Durband, CEO, GSTC, elaborated with insights on important global trends related to sustainable tourism standards and their usage.
The GSTC India Working Group Members – Aditi Chanchani, Rajesh Nambiar, and Freeda Maria – also introduced themselves and invited interested listeners to engage with the GSTC.
Sustainable Tourism in India
The Covid pandemic while bringing travel to a standstill also brought about a shift in the minds of the consumer globally and within the country. Research conducted by Booking.com in 2020 reveals that 96% of Indian travellers identified sustainable travel as important to them, while 76% said they were more determined to make sustainable choices when looking to travel in the future. However, 39% of Indian travellers do not know how or where to find sustainable travel options and 54% think there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available.
Sustainable tourism, responsible travel and ecotourism are concepts now many in the tourism sector talk about. These terms are largely misunderstood and interpreted in many different ways. More importantly they are equated to only “being green” and “environmental conscious”. How does the industry, stakeholders in destinations, policy makers and tourists build their understanding on what is sustainable tourism and sustainable travel options?
Already being used in India, the GSTC Criteria serve as the global 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.
GSTC Industry Criteria = relates to the sustainable management of private sector travel industry, focusing currently on Hotels and Tour Operators.
GSTC Destination Criteria = relates to sustainable management of Tourism Destinations.