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Published October 7, 2008 09:41 AM

Ted Turner announces Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

On Monday, mega-entrepreneur Ted Turner announced the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, a new sustainable tourism standards regime for tourism businesses, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Turner, founder of the United Nations Foundation, was joined by the Rainforest Alliance, The UN Environment Program and the UN World Tourism Organization and many other groups. The voluntary sustainable tourism criteria are based on best practices drawn from different standards for sustainability in use around the world today.

"Sustainability is just like the old business adage: 'you don't encroach on the principal, you live off the interest'," said Turner. "Unfortunately, up to this point, the travel industry and tourists haven't had a common framework to let them know if they're really living up to that maxim. But the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) will change that. This is a win-win initiative -- good for the environment and good for the world's tourism industry."

Intended as minimum standards for tourism-based businesses, sustainability experts and tourism industry representatives developed the standards over the past 15 months. More that 4,500 criteria were considered and approximately 80,000 industry stakeholders, environmentalists and government authorities contributed comments.

"Consumers deserve widely accepted standards to distinguish green from greenwashed. These criteria will allow true certification of sustainable practices in hotels and resorts as well as other travel suppliers," said Jeff Glueck, chief marketing officer of Travelocity/Sabre, a member of the GSTC Partnership. "They will give travelers confidence that they can make choices to help the sustainability cause. They also will help the forward-thinking suppliers who deserve credit for doing things right."

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