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New ZealandQualmark’s Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria has become the first in New Zealand to gain GSTC-Recognized Status from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, meaning members can be confident that achieving Qualmark certification meets global standards of sustainability.

Qualmark is a subsidiary of Tourism New Zealand and provides evidence that a business has been independently validated as a quality tourism business. It has more than 2000 tourism business members.

In May, Qualmark refreshed its criteria for members in alignment with the GSTC Criteria.

The tourism sector is focused on transitioning to a regenerative system that gives back more than it takes to New Zealand and New Zealanders. This is about ensuring that visitors explore further, connect with communities and contribute positively to our economy and environment.

“The new global status gives tourism businesses another reason to be proud of gaining Qualmark accreditation, and helps to support their business and New Zealand’s transition to a regenerative tourism system,” says Steven Dixon, Qualmark General Manager.

The Hotel Britomart General Manager Clinton Farley says each tourism business can play its part in protecting New Zealand and leading the way on sustainability.

“The GSTC’s validation will ensure alignment to global standards and empower our industry to lead the charge for a better tomorrow.”

Qualmark Gold member Carino Wildlife Cruises creates respectful dolphin cruises between wildlife and people in the Bay of Islands.

General Manager Vanessa McKay says gaining Recognized Status demonstrates commitment to global sustainability standards, a cause they are passionate about.

“As a New Zealand tour operator our gold Qualmark award now represents alignment with global sustainability standards. We are proud to have Qualmark as our partner in our journey toward a more sustainable future for New Zealand.”

“Qualmark demonstrates its dedication to a broad and global strategy by aligning with the principles of the Four Pillars of the GSTC Criteria, proving its commitment to a more sustainable future for New Zealand,” said Randy Durband, GSTC Chief Executive Officer.

What is the GSTC

Founded in 2007, the GSTC is a United Nations-initiated programme that establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria.

What is the GSTC Recognition about?

The GSTC have recognised the Qualmark Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria as being in line with the GSTC Industry Criteria. This means the Qualmark Standard helps tourism businesses become more sustainable from a people, environmental and operational perspective at a globally recognised level.

What does this recognition mean for Qualmark members?

It guarantees that all Qualmark businesses are following a recognized standard that aligns with universal criteria for sustainable management, social and economic benefits to the local community, cultural heritage preservation and the reduction of pollution.

Qualmark Accommodation providers may be eligible to participate in GSTC’s Market Access program where prominent online travel agencies (OTA’s) and various international travel providers highlights sustainable accommodation.

GSTC Recognition of Qualmark’s Sustainable Tourism Business (STB) Criteria does not impact the current Qualmark assessment process.