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Published on : Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The Long Run’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that The Long Run’s Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER) Hotels and Tour Operators Standards program has achieved ‘GSTC Recognized’ status. The awarded status affirms The Long Run’s commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.
The Long Run was conceived as the international program of the Zeitz Foundation, with a mission “To create and support sustainable, ecologically and socially responsible projects and destinations around the world to achieve long-lasting impact and sustainability through the holistic balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce (the 4Cs) in privately managed areas”.
The Long Run is built around the Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER) standard which has been referred to as “the world’s best standards for private protected areas” (Dr. Jeff A. Langholz). The GER recognizes outstanding work in sustainability by private nature-based tourism businesses and goes beyond requiring destinations to mitigate their negative impacts by expecting significant positive impacts on biodiversity, the well-being of communities and cultural stewardship. Commercial sustainability is regarded as vital to achieving such impacts.
“GSTC Recognition means that The Long Run GER standard fulfills its requirements as a leading industry standard. For us, this means more than just recognition of the assurance system: It is equally about heightened awareness of the GER standard in the industry, and ultimately it is about the positive impacts achieved through greater implementation of our 4C framework globally. On behalf of our members, we are thrilled that their contributions to worldwide sustainable development through tourism are acknowledged by the GSTC’s Recognition of the Global Ecosphere Retreats standard” said Rafiq Mohammad, CEO of The Long Run.
GSTC-Recognized means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel in order to be deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to recognize and reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.
To date, 22 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 benefit of proof that these national standards adhere to international norms. The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition, Approval & Accreditation of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Approved standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process in order to achieve improvements in their sustainability frameworks, further distinction amongst other certification programs, and receive increased market benefits.