GSTC

certification of tourism industry



GSTC certification




for tourism industry
Global Sustainable Tourism Council is global independent organisation, which is developing standards
of sustainable tourism for hotels, tour operators and destinations
UCS develops its expertise with regard to international voluntary certification on sustainability
We are in process of accreditation on GSTC criteria
One certificate can include
the group of hotels or several legal entities
Single
Multi site
Group
Single certification
Organizations operating out of one site:
a single location with one physical address,
e.g. Single Hotel or Single Tour-operator
Multi Site certification
Organizations at more than one location / physical address.All sites are individually audited against the GSTC Standard.
Although not all requirements would necessarily apply to all sites, e.g. hotel chain with properties in different locations, or tour operator working in different locations within the same destination.
Group certification
Under this option, the group designates a central office that establishes internal controls and is responsible for sites compliance. UCS will audit the central office and a sample of sites instead of every site receiving an audit as in a multi-site certificate. E.g. group of Hotels / Tour-operators in one Destination , or group of small independent Hotels from different owners that wish to apply for the GSTC Standard Certification at a given destination.

How to achieve

Certification process step by step
1
Application
Having made the decision on certification, the Client fills in the application for certification. The application contains main parameters of the business (the scope of certification), which will determine the duration and cost of the audit.
Application Form
2
Conclusion of the Contract
The Client receives a commercial offer with the cost and a procedure of certification. Once the offer is accepted and terms and conditions agreed, the Client and UCS conclude a contract for certification.
3
Preliminary audit (optional)
Preliminary audit can be carried out at the request of the Client with the purpose of more detailed acquaintance with GSTC requirements and procedures of UCS. The preliminary audit is aimed at identifying areas of concern, which the Client may need to have finalized before the main audit, and the scope of certification is specified.

Based on the results of the preliminary audit, the Client is provided with a report with conclusions on the compliance of the company's management with the current GSTC requirements.

4
Main audit
After all nonconformities defined during the Preliminary audit are eliminated, the main audit can be planned.
In case if preliminary audit was not carried out, then the parties coordinate the terms of the audit which take place once the contract is concluded.
Before the audit date appointment, the applicant shall be sure to comply with the GSTC Criteria:
  • comply with the requirements and intent of all tourism laws;
  • develop a Risk Assessment, Environmental Action Plan and Environmental Management System in order to manage and improve sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, cultural impacts and environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes);
  • organization of monitoring of the key indicators;
  • communicate goals and objectives to all key stakeholders.
The main audit is defined, but not limited to:
  • assessment of the company's quality management system;
  • assessment of documentation system and records (availability of relevant GSTC procedures, their keeping and maintenance);
  • assessment of how the tourist site is integrated with the environment (location, coexistence with natural landscapes, nature conservation);
  • assessment of social and economic impacts on local communities and workers (community support, employment rate, social assistance for the staff, working conditions);
  • assessment of the impact on the cultural heritage preservation (protection of cultural heritage, dialogue with local organizations);
  • assessment of environmental impact (waste management, water conservation, energy saving);
  • staff trainings (checking the competence of employees, monitoring of manager and group members functional duties in case of group certification);
  • use of the GSTC trademarks
Based on the audit results, UCS will provide a report identifying all nonconformities in accordance with the GSTC criteria requirements.

5
Using of GSTC trademark
GSTC has full rights on GSTC logos, trademarks, and trade names. Trademarks and trade names include GSTCouncil, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Travel Forever, GSTC-Recognized и GSTC-Accredited. Prior to using any logos, trademarks, or trade names of GSTC, the Client concludes license agreement with GSTC that implies special fees (royalty) for its use; the amount of the royalty is fixed in the license agreement. The Client has to use the GSTC logo in accordance with GSTC Logo Terms of Use.
6
Certificate delivery and registration
Certification audit report will describe your organization's performance within the framework of GSTC criteria. Once the GSTC requirementsare successfully met by the organization it will be awarded a GSTC certificate valid during three years.
7
Annual Audits
UCS as a certification body will conduct a regular (at least every two years) evaluation of the hotel/ tour operator in order to verify compliance with the conditions set up in the report and assess the overall dynamics of the Client's development in achieving sustainable tourism.

In the case of identifying five or more significant non-conformances during the audit, the Customer's certificate will be suspended. The certificate may be also suspended due to the Client's failure to fulfill its financial obligations to the Contractor.

Rights & Duties

Certificate Granting
The GSTC certificate is issued to the Client if this Client:
  • Conscientiously and in proper time fulfills all requirements of Contract, including covering payments of all types of audit and fees, including accreditation fees.
  • Constantly fulfills (complies with) all provisions of certification standards and other applicable normative acts and the certification body's reports.
  • If the scope of certification is to be changed, the Client shall inform the certification body about it and the CB shall take a decision.
Certificate Validity
To confirm the certificate's validity during its validity period the Client shall:
  • Fulfil all requirements of certification system and certification body's applicable normative documents.
  • Fulfil all certification system's and certification body's requirements regarding public and other statements, logos, certification marks and use of trademarks for the promotion
  • Not to prevent the certification body and/or certification system and/or accreditation body from conducting all audits to confirm the Client's conformity with all requirements of the system's and CB's normative documents.
  • Fulfil the procedure on responding and dealing with any complaints and appeals received by the Client, affecting the scope of its certification or potentially affecting it.
Notifications and information exchange
The Client shall inform the certification body in a written form directly before or at least within ten (10) calendar days since fulfillment of the following changes:
  • changing of its management structure, in particular changes in top management, changes in staff who can make binding decisions affecting the certification, as well as changes in the composition of technical staff responsible for the processes included in the Client's certification scope;
  • changes of its' status, in particular the legal, commercial, institutional or organizational changes in the legal form and / or ownership form;
  • changes of contact information of the Client and / or its responsible staff and other similar changes;
  • changes in the quality management system
GSTC trademarks use
GSTC has full rights on GSTC logos, trademarks, and trade names. Trademarks and trade names include GSTCouncil, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Travel Forever, GSTC-Recognized и GSTC-Accredited. Prior to using any logos, trademarks, or trade names of GSTC, the Client concludes license agreement with GSTC that implies special fees (royalty) for its use; the amount of the royalty is fixed in the license agreement. The Client has to use the GSTC logo in accordance with GSTC Logo Terms of Use.
Suspension or withdrawal
The certification body has the right to suspend or withdraw the certificate immediately in case if the Client ceases meeting the requirements imposed on him by the certification scheme. The certification body will conduct surveillance audits of the certified Client annually.
If due to the Client's fault it is impossible to carry out stipulated activities, the certificate shall be suspended, which will be immediately entered by the certification body in the certificate database; and the Client will be sent a notice about the reasons, suspension timeframes and conditions to renew the certificate.
If the Client does not fulfil conditions required to renew the certificate's validity within the timeframes stipulated by the certification body, then the certificate is withdrawn, information about which is reflected by the certification body in the GSTC database of issued certificates.
The certificate is also suspended or withdrawn if:
  • The Client does not pay for certification services or has paid not in full.
  • The Client directly or indirectly keeps the CB, certification system and/or accreditation body from conducting audits required.
  • Based on the audit findings, 5 (five) and more Major nonconformities to the requirements of the standards applicable during the assessment have been identified.
  • If the Client refuses to pay the annual fee for any reason.
If the certificate is suspended or withdrawn, the Client shall immediately:
  • without additional notices by the СB, give back the certificate to the certification body or eliminate its original as well as make a commitment to eliminate any electronic and hard copies at its disposal with providing the certification body with evidence of the specified actions;
  • cease using any certification system's and CB's trademarks;
  • stop making claims implying that the Client comply with the certification system requirements;
  • provide access and do not keep CB and certification system's representatives from conducting audits to confirm that the Client has fulfilled these obligations after withdrawal and/or suspension of the certificate.
  • remove all variants of use certification system name, initials, logo, certification marks or trademarks from its products, documents, advertising or marketing materials at his own expense.

Rights & Duties

Certificate Granting
The GSTC certificate is issued to the Client if this Client:
  • Conscientiously and in proper time fulfills all requirements of Contract, including covering payments of all types of audit and fees, including accreditation fees.
  • Constantly fulfills (complies with) all provisions of certification standards and other applicable normative acts and the certification body's reports.
  • If the scope of certification is to be changed, the Client shall inform the certification body about it and the CB shall take a decision.
Certificate Validity
To confirm the certificate's validity during its validity period the Client shall:
  • Fulfil all requirements of certification system and certification body's applicable normative documents.
  • Fulfil all certification system's and certification body's requirements regarding public and other statements, logos, certification marks and use of trademarks for the promotion
  • Not to prevent the certification body and/or certification system and/or accreditation body from conducting all audits to confirm the Client's conformity with all requirements of the system's and CB's normative documents.
  • Fulfil the procedure on responding and dealing with any complaints and appeals received by the Client, affecting the scope of its certification or potentially affecting it.
Notifications and information exchange
The Client shall inform the certification body in a written form directly before or at least within ten (10) calendar days since fulfillment of the following changes:
  • changing of its management structure, in particular changes in top management, changes in staff who can make binding decisions affecting the certification, as well as changes in the composition of technical staff responsible for the processes included in the Client's certification scope;
  • changes of its' status, in particular the legal, commercial, institutional or organizational changes in the legal form and / or ownership form;
  • changes of contact information of the Client and / or its responsible staff and other similar changes;
  • changes in the quality management system
GSTC trademarks use
GSTC has full rights on GSTC logos, trademarks, and trade names. Trademarks and trade names include GSTCouncil, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Travel Forever, GSTC-Recognized и GSTC-Accredited. Prior to using any logos, trademarks, or trade names of GSTC, the Client concludes license agreement with GSTC that implies special fees (royalty) for its use; the amount of the royalty is fixed in the license agreement. The Client has to use the GSTC logo in accordance with GSTC Logo Terms of Use.
Suspension or withdrawal
The certification body has the right to suspend or withdraw the certificate immediately in case if the Client ceases meeting the requirements imposed on him by the certification scheme. The certification body will conduct surveillance audits of the certified Client annually.
If due to the Client's fault it is impossible to carry out stipulated activities, the certificate shall be suspended, which will be immediately entered by the certification body in the certificate database; and the Client will be sent a notice about the reasons, suspension timeframes and conditions to renew the certificate.
If the Client does not fulfil conditions required to renew the certificate's validity within the timeframes stipulated by the certification body, then the certificate is withdrawn, information about which is reflected by the certification body in the GSTC database of issued certificates.
The certificate is also suspended or withdrawn if:
  • The Client does not pay for certification services or has paid not in full.
  • The Client directly or indirectly keeps the CB, certification system and/or accreditation body from conducting audits required.
  • Based on the audit findings, 5 (five) and more Major nonconformities to the requirements of the standards applicable during the assessment have been identified.
  • If the Client refuses to pay the annual fee for any reason.
If the certificate is suspended or withdrawn, the Client shall immediately:
  • without additional notices by the СB, give back the certificate to the certification body or eliminate its original as well as make a commitment to eliminate any electronic and hard copies at its disposal with providing the certification body with evidence of the specified actions;
  • cease using any certification system's and CB's trademarks;
  • stop making claims implying that the Client comply with the certification system requirements;
  • provide access and do not keep CB and certification system's representatives from conducting audits to confirm that the Client has fulfilled these obligations after withdrawal and/or suspension of the certificate.
  • remove all variants of use certification system name, initials, logo, certification marks or trademarks from its products, documents, advertising or marketing materials at his own expense.
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