Sustainable Tourism Training for Industry Professionals

The Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) provides the knowledge and resources needed to help improve sustainability practices by tourism industry businesses and destinations. Built on the framework of the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism, the STTP training class will help you achieve tangible actions that fulfill the globally recognized standard of sustainability best practices.


Certificate in Sustainable Tourism

By completing this 4-week online training class of the STTP, you will meet the training requirement towards earning the GSTC-endorsed Certificate in Sustainable Tourism. Once you complete the class, you will have have access to the official STTP Exam, and upon successful completion (75% and above passing mark is required), receive a Certificate in Sustainable Tourism by the GSTC.

>> Learn more about STTP & GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism


Course Topics and Objectives

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training covers both global and regional perspectives, and offers practical guidance through best practice cases and real-life lessons to help you achieve tangible sustainability performance goals. The training curriculum includes global trends and issues in sustainable tourism, sustainability best practices by businesses and destinations, and lessons on utilizing the GSTC Criteria as a tourism development and management tool.

You will:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of sustainable tourism standards and the roles of accreditation and certification bodies in the global tourism industry.
  • Be able to make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability practices for your company or destination, utilizing quality sustainable tourism standards as guiding principles.
  • Learn how to build and implement viable and actionable sustainable tourism plans for your organization, including effective strategies for sustainability management, partnerships, engagement and marketing.


Course Methodology

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training online classes are offered quarterly, and delivered in the 4-Week Course format, which combines the convenience of online, on-demand lessons and the benefits of interactive people-focused learning. The class follows a weekly schedule (one module per week), and includes:

  • Video lessons and readings that can be accessed at your convenience;
  • Hands-on activities to apply your knowledge to your specific real-life, on-the-job practices; and
  • Live and interactive components to enhance learning results through sharing ideas and collaborating with each other.


>> Learn more about the 4-Week Course format and features


About the GSTC: Global Authority on Sustainable Tourism

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is a UN-endorsed independent not-for-profit organization (registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) playing a critical role as the global leader in the development and management of sustainability practices in tourism. As the global expert in standards for sustainable tourism, the GSTC pursues the goals of:

  • Promoting sustainable tourism knowledge and practices;
  • Facilitating the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles; and
  • Building demand for sustainable travel.

At the core of this work is the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, a framework to ensure the sustainability of tourism businesses and destinations across the globe.


Live Session Schedule

*Weekly live webinars scheduled for 12:00-13:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time, UTC +2) / CET (Central European Time, UTC +1) on the following days.

Click on the links below to show the sessions times in your time zone.


These live webinars will be recorded and participants will be able to watch the recordings any time during the course period. Although strongly encouraged, attending these sessions live is not mandatory.


Course Modules

>> Download Sample Agenda

Week 1: Effective Sustainable Tourism Management

Topics & Learning Goals:

The first module provides an introduction to the GSTC Criteria, the definition and principles of sustainable tourism, and the GSTC's roles in the global tourism industry, and discusses best practices in sustainable tourism management approaches (GSTC Criteria Section A).

  • Understand the roles of the GSTC and the GSTC Criteria.
  • Learn about and discuss relevant sustainability issues and tourism trends.
  • Become familiar with sustainability management principles and discuss best practices.


Live Events

Monday, Oct 14th: Orientation Meeting

  • Getting Started with the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Online Course
  • GSTC and GSTC Criteria: Introduction and Overview


Thursday, Oct 17th: Sustainability Management, Planning and Marketing Quality Experiences

  • Week 1 Summary: Sustainability Management
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions


Week 2: Socioeconomic Impacts and Local Community Benefits

Topics & Learning Goals:

The goal of the second week is both to dive deeper into the GSTC Criteria and to discuss practical steps to applying the Criteria in the real-world context, focused on understanding the socioeconomic impacts of tourism activities, and on effective strategies for reducing negative impacts (GSTC Criteria Section B).

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.
  • Learn about sustainability practices that effectively address the socioeconomic impacts of tourism.
  • Discuss practical application of the GSTC Industry Criteria through a business case study.


Live Events

Monday, Oct 21st: Social, Economic and Cultural Impacts: Maximizing Community Benefits

  • Guest Presentation
  • Q&A, Discussion


Thursday, Oct 24th: Managing Tourism’s Socioeconomic Impacts

  • Week 2 Summary: Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Case Study
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions


Week 3: Cultural Heritage Preservation and Promotion

Topics & Learning Goals:

Continuing on with lessons and expert presentations on the GSTC Criteria, this week focuses on how tourism businesses and destinations can minimize negative impacts, maximize benefits to local communities and protect cultural heritage through sustainable tourism (GSTC Criteria Section C).

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the impact of tourism on local cultural heritage.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing negative impacts of tourism activities on local cultural heritage.
  • Discuss how to maximize tourism's benefits for communities, visitors and local cultures through sustainability practices.


Live Events

Monday, Oct 28th: Protecting Cultural Heritage, Promoting Sense of Place

  • Guest Presentation
  • Q&A, Discussion


Thursday, Oct 31st: Engaging and Education Visitors in Sustainability Practices

  • Week 3 Summary: Culture and Heritage
  • Case Study
  • Breakout Room Group Discussions


Week 4: Resource Management and Environmental Conservation

Topics & Learning Goals:

In the fourth and last module of the course, key strategies for reducing tourism's environmental footprint are presented, and practical action steps in implementing sustainable resource management and conservation practices are discussed (GSTC Criteria Section D).

  • Understand issues and challenges related to the environmental impacts of tourism.
  • Learn about best practices on reducing footprint and positively contributing to conservation.
  • Discuss how to achieve optimal results for the local environment, while supporting business growth.


Live Events

Tuesday, November 5th: Achieving a Sustainable Balance: People, Planet and Profit

  • Guest Presentation


Thursday, November 7th: Course Wrap-Up and Next Steps

  • Week 4 Summary: Environmental Impacts
  • Exercise Feedback
  • Course Wrap Up and Next Steps



Destination Example: Azores Towards Sustainable Tourism

Azores Destination TourismAzores DMO, the entity responsible for the sustainability management of the Azores as a tourist destination, works to deepen the preservation and enhancement of heritage, based on the balance between the environmental, cultural, social and economic dimensions. The DMO ensures that tourism in the region contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of Agenda 2030.

The certification of the Azores as a Sustainable Tourist Destination is underway, aiming to protect and preserve the multiplicity of natural, historical and cultural resources of the region. The Azores will be hosting the 2019 GSTC Global Sustainable Tourism Conference.

Director of Training Strategy and Development, TrainingAid
Associate Lecturer, University of Queensland Business School
Chief Executive Officer, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Co-Founder, Batu Batu – Pulau Tengah
Co-Founder, Planet Happiness
Coordinator, Azores DMO
Ferdinand Weps's picture

Questions? Talk To Your Course Advisor

Email Ayako Ezaki with your questions or to schedule a call.