The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and the Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI) have merged, following approval by the boards of directors of each organization.
“While retaining our vital DNA as a neutral and independent arbiter of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, which is well established in our bylaws and organizational structure, the GSTC from our inception has welcomed the participation of all subsectors within travel and tourism,” said Randy Durband, GSTC’s CEO. “Tour operators uniquely touch all facets of the tourism value chain and therefore can play a vital role in the enhancement of sustainability throughout it.”
“This is a major step forward that reinforces the partnership between players from all horizons who all share a vision that travel and tourism is a powerful weapon to fight poverty, while working at preserving the environment and conserving heritage and culture,” said Michel Lemay, chairman of TOI.
GSTC chair of the board Luigi Cabrini added, “With the GSTC as the global leader in setting standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, and TOI’s focus on the tour operator value chain and synchronization with destinations, the combination of both organizations and their respective strengths will produce a true global champion in sustainable tourism. The mission will remain to develop, promote, and encourage the implementation of credible standards and best practices so that travel and tourism remains the major economic engine it already is, all over the world, in harmony with communities and the environment.”
The organization will maintain the name Global Sustainable Tourism Council and will continue the legacy of TOI through its working groups and its Destination Program, among other means. UNWTO and UN Environmental Program (UNEP) will retain permanent seats on the board of the GSTC, with current members of TOI becoming members of the GSTC.
This formidable list includes TUI Group, current member of both the GSTC and TOI and represented by Jane Ashton, who serves on the board of directors of both organizations. Andreas Mueseler, currently TOI’s vice-chairman and a founding member, joins the board of GSTC.