The Global Sustainable Tourism Council publishes new GSTC MICE Criteria

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) announce that the GSTC MICE Criteria have been published and are available to the public for non-commercial use. Developed for Venues, Event Organizers, and Events & Exhibitions, the GSTC MICE Criteria, developed with support from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), will guide businesses toward implementing sustainable practices in response to the growing focus on sustainability.

The GSTC Criteria serve as the global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses, organizations and government agencies, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism and are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; (D) Environmental impacts.

GSTC MICE Criteria

The GSTC MICE Criteria aim to serve as the global sustainability standards for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) businesses and provide a common understanding of sustainable practices in the MICE industry worldwide.

With the steady growth of the MICE industry coupled with the escalating demand for sustainable tourism, it is imperative to establish universal guidelines that prescribe sustainable practices to be adhered to by the various subsectors within the MICE industry. The GSTC MICE Criteria have been developed for the following subsectors: Venues, Event Organizers, and Events & Exhibitions, and are the minimum that any MICE business should aspire to attain.

“After a year of dedicated work and effort, we announce the formal release of the GSTC MICE Criteria for Venues, Event Organizers, and Events & Exhibitions. We thank the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), who has been a key contributor to its development. Let’s seize this opportunity together to significantly advance the MICE industry’s journey towards sustainability,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.

Yap Chin Siang, Deputy Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board said: “Our collaboration with the GSTC and SACEOS to develop the GSTC MICE Criteria underscores Singapore’s unwavering commitment to sustainable tourism and solidifies our position as a leading MICE destination. The MICE Criteria represents a major milestone on this journey, empowering industry players with the relevant tools to contribute to and thrive in a sustainable tourism landscape. I strongly urge all stakeholders in the MICE ecosystem to embrace the criteria and play a pivotal role in forging a greener future for global tourism.”

Singapore Tourism Board launched its MICE Sustainability Roadmap in 2022, demonstrating clear commitments towards its sustainability goals. This include launching local guidelines to provide best practices for MICE stakeholders on setting waste management goals and reducing specific types of waste, and to better manage carbon emissions. It has also worked closely with Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), as well as public and private stakeholders, to improve the sustainability performance of organisations and explore ways to host sustainable events.

The GSTC MICE Criteria will:

Help define sustainability in a holistic manner
Raise awareness of the breadth and nature of sustainability
Serve as the basis for certification for sustainability
Offer both public and private sectors a starting point by providing basic guidelines for MICE businesses to become more sustainable, including guidance for identifying more sustainable suppliers and service providers
Help consumers identify sustainable MICE businesses
Serve as a common denominator for recognizing sustainable MICE businesses, helping businesses in choosing sustainable suppliers and partners
Serve as basic guidelines for education and training on sustainable MICE practices
Demonstrate leadership that inspires others to act

Development of GSTC MICE Criteria

The GSTC MICE Criteria have been built on decades of prior work and experience around the world and take into account the numerous guidelines and standards for sustainable tourism from every continent. During the development process, criteria were widely consulted throughout the globe, in both developed and developing countries. They reflect our goal of attaining a global consensus on sustainable tourism.

The Criteria have been developed and revised by following the GSTC Standard-setting Manual v3.0 while striving to adhere to the Standard-Setting Code of the ISEAL Alliance, the body recognized to provide guidance on international norms for developing sustainability standards in all sectors.

GSTC MICE Criteria development process is shown below:

The Criteria development process was an 18-month-long journey from September 2022 to February 2024 (the formal period was 11 months, from April 2023). The first round of public consultation took place for two months, from June 15th to August 15th, 2023.

After compiling and revising the second draft, a Feasibility Assessment was conducted to evaluate the suggested criteria based on a compiled draft from the GSTC Technical Team, and to assess the readability (how easy to understand the criteria are), measurability/auditability (how objective they are), and feasibility of the requirement (how likely they are to be met) of each criterion. The feasibility assessment took place from October 15th to November 15th, 2023. Organizations that took part in the Feasibility Assessment can be found in the annex below. [1]*

Revisions to the GSTC MICE Criteria draft were made after the second public consultation period that was conducted from November 24th to December 29th, 2023. Final draft and consensus were made before the final adoption and publication.

Sukumar Verma, Vice President, Industry & Enterprise, SACEOS, said: “SACEOS is proud to have been a collaborative partner with the Singapore Tourism Board in developing the first GSTC MICE Criteria. We are also honoured to be part of the GSTC MICE Advisory Group to help shape the future of sustainable MICE and business events. As the national trade association representing Singapore’s MICE industry, we are grateful to our members for their valued inputs in championing the development of this comprehensive criteria. These standards provide a clear and actionable framework for businesses and organisations in sustainable event management for Event Organisers and Venues. The GSTC MICE Criteria will be instrumental in accelerating sustainable practices throughout the MICE sector both locally and globally.”

The GSTC will launch an ‘Early Adopter Program’ for the MICE Criteria. This program will run for two years, giving industry players the opportunity to apply the Criteria in the field and form a network for knowledge and experience sharing. Information on the Program will soon be announced.

The article The Global Sustainable Tourism Council publishes new GSTC MICE Criteria first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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