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Published on : Wednesday, July 26, 2017
The Mountain IDEAL destination standard has been developed to address sustainability in mountain environments that include winter and summer activities. These unique challenges and opportunities include issues like water and energy use related to snow making and snow melting systems, affordable housing for residents and seasonal employees, collaborating with public land managers and the business community, and embracing mountain cultural heritage. Sustainable Travel International, Walking Mountains Science Center, and other partners have collaborated on the development of the Mountain IDEAL destination standard.
Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.
“GSTC Recognition of a standard means that the standard, Mountain IDEAL in this case, includes the four pillars of sustainability: management, social/community, cultural, and environmental issues. The Mountain IDEAL standard requires mountain resort communities to work to improve in all those four areas,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.
“The goal of Mountain IDEAL is to elevate collaborative sustainability performance and share best-practices across mountain resort communities.” says Kim Langmaid Ph.D., Walking Mountains Science Center’s founder and vice-president.
In addition to the Mountain IDEAL destination standard, Walking Mountains’ industry standard Actively Green, is currently under review for recognition by GSTC.
To date, 7 destination standards, and 28 hotels and tour operators 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 a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.
The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria.
GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs.