• English
  • Türkçe
  • فارسی
  • español, castellano
  • Français
  • русский язык
  • українська
  • العربية
  • Deutsch
  • The Sustainable Tourism Conference, organised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), which sets global standards for sustainable travel and tourism and manages the implementation of these standards, was held in Antalya on 9-12 May 2023. The conference, held for the first time this year in Türkiye and is the “signature event” of the GSTC, brought together all tourism stakeholders involved in developing and promoting sustainable travel and tourism.

    Speaking at the conference's opening, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy expressed his pleasure at hosting the most competent experts and opinion leaders of sustainable tourism in Türkiye. Ersoy said the GSTC 2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference would become a valuable information and idea exchange platform, creating significant gains for sustainable tourism worldwide. Minister Ersoy also noted that beyond acting as a pioneer by becoming the first country in the world to sign an agreement with GSTC for a national sustainability program at the governmental level, it had already become a global leader in sustainable tourism practices.

    Stating that Türkiye sets an example globally with this program, Ersoy added that the country's sustainable travel and tourism activities are not limited to this. Ersoy noted that the number of blue flag beaches in Türkiye has increased to 531, Türkiye has the 3rd place in the world as a country while Antalya is the number one city in the world; there are also 19 heritage sites registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Türkiye is among the top 3 countries to register the most items in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, and it has a Cycling Friendly Accommodation Facility Certificate. Ersoy stated that they are trying to add Turkish cuisine to the steps taken regarding sustainability and added that the Rami Library, İzmir Culture and Arts Factory and Adana Museum have the Biosphere certificate.

    Minister of Culture and Tourism added that “Within Türkiye’s National Sustainable Tourism Program, all of the tourism facilities in the country will be Sustainable Tourism certified by 2030. Looking at today’s figures, we see that as of May 8, 2023, by meeting the required criteria, 1,382 enterprises received the 1. Level Certificate. The number of enterprises that have received 3. Level Certification is 202, and the total number of certificates reached 1,584. All facilities that have been entitled to receive certificates with 100% compliance within the scope of the Program are announced on the Ministry and TGA websites and Türkiye’s official tourism platform GoTürkiye.

    Speaking at the opening of the conference, GSTC President Luigi Cabrini shared his unease regarding the industry tackling global difficulties “The challenges threatening tourism growth have not changed: the impacts of climate change are more and more visible, plastic pollutes oceans and rivers, water is scarce while droughts multiply, biodiversity continues to reduce. Tourism must improve in preventing exploitation, promoting decent work, increase accessibility. We cannot and do not want to return to tourism perceived as generating more harm than benefits in the communities where it develops.”  He also expressed his gratitude towards Türkiye’s authorities “I cannot conclude my remarks without reiterating our gratitude to the tourism authorities of Türkiye not only for inviting us but also for the ambitious and far-sighted commitment taken to develop a national sustainable tourism scheme based on the GSTC’s Criteria for Destinations.”

    “GSTC is honoured and pleased to be hosted in Türkiye for our 2023 annual global conference of sustainable tourism experts and member practitioners”, says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.  “The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has boldly moved with their national sustainable tourism program. We´re pleased to bring our global community to Antalya to foster sharing of solutions to the challenges of making tourism more sustainable in Türkiye and the world.”

    GSTC Sustainable Tourism Conference was held with the participation of more than 300 people from 45 countries, including the public sector, hotels, tour operators, private companies, academics, development agencies, online travel agencies, and non-governmental organisations. The conference program, which lasted for four days, included many pieces of training, interactive workshops, meetings, and social events. Within the scope of the conference program, the participants also had the chance to discover Antalya, the " tourism heaven" of Türkiye.

    GSTC sets global standards in sustainable tourism

    The Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the world's top sustainability platform, regulates and manages the global standards created to ensure sustainability in travel and tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria. The independent non-profit organisation aims to create a shared understanding of sustainable tourism with these criteria.

    GSTC also organises conferences with global leaders to discuss the most critical issues in sustainable tourism. The Sustainable Tourism Conference, held annually by the organisation in another city in the world, aims to bring together tourism stakeholders to exchange ideas and increase the applicability of the standards determined for sustainable tourism.

    Türkiye sets an example to the world in the field of sustainable tourism.

    With the cooperation agreement signed with GSTC at the beginning of 2022, Türkiye determined the road map the country will follow in sustainable tourism and accelerated its global sustainability practices. With this three-year protocol, the National Sustainable Tourism Program was established to restructure the tourism industry of Türkiye, which is the first country to agree with the government on sustainable tourism.

    With the program, which includes destinations and tour operators, especially accommodation facilities, a sustainable transformation is aimed at the tourism industry in Türkiye. The program’s first phase carried out gradually, will be completed this year, the second phase in 2025 and the third phase in 2030, and all international standards will be met.

    Accommodation facilities must obtain a Sustainable Tourism Certificate within the scope of the Sustainable Tourism Program, which consists of 42 globally accepted criteria designed for accommodation facilities in the first place. Accommodation facilities subject to independent evaluation are given a certificate or certificate annually.