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How to Improve your Hotel or Tourism Business’ Sustainability Performance

Tailored Training Options for hotels, lodgings, resorts,  tour operators, MICE venues and companies – tourism and hospitality brands

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Divine and Right. Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

Based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council -GSTC Industry Criteria and guided by practical insights from leading sustainable tourism experts, the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers tailored curriculum based on your company’s specific needs and goals, and help improve your company’s sustainability practices through tangible actions that fulfill the globally recognized standard of sustainability best practices.

GSTC Industry Criteria (GSTC-Industry)

 

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Paradisus Riviera Maya – La Perla and La Esmeralda: a model of eco efficiency and sustainability.

The GSTC Industry Criteria (GSTC-Industry) have been initially created for the accommodation and tour operation sectors, developed through analyses of 4,500 criteria and 60 certifications systems, and with the input of over 2,000 stakeholders. The latest edition of the GSTC-Industry (updated in 2016) includes separate indicators for hotels and for tour operators, and other sub-sectors can be created (e.g. cruise, MICE, aviation, etc.), enhancing the applicability of the standard to the entire tourism industry.

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Architect Arturo Amaya showcasing the environmental conservation and reforestation of Mayakoba, Riviera Maya.

The GSTC-Industry is a globally recognized set of sustainable tourism principles and performance indicators that can be used by tourism businesses to:

· Guide various sustainable business practices, from product development to supply chain management.

· Assist sustainability training and skills development efforts, helping improve employee sustainability performance.

· Communicate to customers and to the media about sustainable business practices more effectively.

GLOBAL AUTHORITY ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

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GSTC CEO, General Manager, Chairman and Trainers from the Philippines and South Korea.

The GSTC is a UN-endorsed independent organization recognized for our critical role as the global leader in providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability in tourism. Based on our extensive knowledge base, the GSTC STTP offers both global and regional perspectives to help your business achieve your sustainability action goals.

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At Rio Secreto, Riviera Maya multi-awarded natural reserve and ecotourism company. From left: #SustainableRivieraMaya CEO Ms. Beatriz Barreal, Society for Sustainable Tourism President & CEO Ms. Susan Santos de Cardenas and Ms. Kristel Arce, PR Manager of Rio Secreto.

FROM WORDS TO ACTIONS, TO LONG-TERM IMPACTS

The objective of the GSTC STTP is not to offer a one-time exercise of reviewing what should be done; rather, we will work with you towards tangible and meaningful goals, focusing on the long-term benefits of sustainable tourism policies and practices and assisting your business to successfully achieve sustainability performance goals over time.

OVERVIEW: TRAINING AND CERTIFICATES

The GSTC offers tailored training options to meet your organization’s specific needs and to accommodate various learning and capacity building requirements based on the desired training outcomes.

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 ONE OR HALF-DAY SEMINAR

A short small-group session focused on select best practice cases and key sustainable tourism approaches. 

Our half-day seminar is ideal for travel and tourism businesses seeking to better understand what it means to become a sustainable tourism destination. Recommended for managers and team leaders, the seminar covers:

  • Sustainable tourism practices for the sound business growth and development;
  • GSTC Industry Criteria as a framework for your company’s sustainability action plan;
  • Benefits of your sustainability actions – for your staff, stakeholders, and customers; and
  • Practical insights into sustainable tourism business best practices based on real-life examples and lessons.
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Grand Palladium Riviera Maya Hotels – award winning Earth Check certified and GSTC Sustainable Hotel Ambassador

3-DAY INTENSIVE CLASSROOM TRAINING

In-depth training on sustainable tourism standards and best practices, supporting your company’s sustainability strategy and action plan.

 Offered as a 3-day-long intensive and interactive training class, our onsite training sessions offer a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the GSTC Industry Criteria and performance indicators. Incorporating case studies and best practice examples relevant to tourism businesses, the training class provides practical insights that will help you make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability actions, and establish viable plans and strategies for your company.

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Paradisus Riviera Maya – GSTC Sustainable Hotel member, Trip Advisor’s Eco Leader,  Earth Check Certified.

GSTC Expert Trainer 

SUSAN SANTOS DE CÁRDENAS – GSTC Country Representative, The Philippines / GSTC Trainer CEO and President, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development- SSTDI

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Saying “hola” to the iguana, at the Grand Palladium Riviera Maya,  Sustainable Hotel Ambassador of Sustainable Riviera Maya.

See her bio in our Society Stewards Page.

Learn more about the STTP-Industry and our programs or how we can help your hotel/resort/lodging/tourism business implement sustainability best practices.

UNWTO has made it clear that with the predicted growth of tourism (1.8 billion international tourists in 2030), embracing sustainability is not an option, but a necessity. – Luigi Cabrini, Chair, GSTC

 

What does it take to become a sustainable tourism destination?

GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program for Destinations – your journey towards sustainability

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The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers customized solutions to your destination’s sustainable tourism development and management needs. Whether you’re working to build a foundation or seeking to take your sustainability impact to the next level, our team of international experts will provide the guidance, support and resources needed to achieve your destination’s training and capacity building goals.

About GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is the global expert in standards for sustainable tourism. Founded in 2008 through collaborative efforts by sustainability leaders from UNEP, UNWTO, the UN Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance, the GSTC is an independent not-for-profit organization (registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) pursuing the goals of:

· Promoting sustainable tourism knowledge and practices;

· Facilitating the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles; and

· Building demand for sustainable travel

At the core of this work is the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, a framework to ensure the sustainability of tourism businesses and destinations across the globe.

GSTC Criteria for Destinations 

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

To effectively implement sustainable destination practices and to guarantee long-term sustainability, a suitable balance must be established between the four pillars of sustainable tourism: Sustainable Management, Economic Benefits, Community Benefits and Environmental Benefits.

The GSTC Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D) outline interdisciplinary, holistic and integrative approaches to these four key areas of sustainability objectives, and serve as a common language to promote sustainable tourism at the destination level. Designed as the global baseline standard for destinations, GSTC-D has been vetted and adopted by a number of destinations around the world.

Global Authority on Sustainable Tourism

The GSTC is a UN-endorsed independent organization playing a critical role as the global eader in providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability in tourism. Based on our extensive knowledge base, the GSTC STTP offers both global and regional perspectives relevant to the specific context of your destination’s sustainable tourism journey.

From Words to Actions, to Long-term Impacts 

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

The Coron Initiative – GSTC Standards Training for Destinations, soon in Coron!

The objective of the GSTC STTP is not to offer a one-time exercise of reviewing what should be done; rather, we will work with you towards tangible and meaningful goals, focusing on the long-term success of your destination’s sustainable tourism development and on-going management practices.

GSTC Expert Trainer 

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, President and CEO, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. – SSTDI, GSTC Country Representative

Susan Santos Cárdenas specializes on sustainable tourism development and stewardship initiatives with Community Social Responsibility (CSR) at grassroots application. A savvy tourism professional and hotelier with more than 20 years’ experience managing sales, marketing, operations, events – M.I.C.E. and human resources development for start-ups and luxury hotel resorts, tour operators, travel agencies, lifestyle events and publications, in the Philippines, Singapore, Peru and Japan.

She had been a keynote speaker & resource person in capacity building and training workshops for sustainable tourism development to include Ecotourism, Community-based and Agri-tourism promotion. She was a consultant and adviser for Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines. She is a founding board member of the Asian Ecotourism Network, Country Representative & Trainer of Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Learn more about the STTP on how we can help your destination or contact us for more details.

Will Don Salvador Benedicto take up the eco conservation challenge?

Foreword. Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) is a proponent of The Negros Occidental Initiative  the Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework  proposed by our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) for the province,  with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts.  SSTDI  is leading the way forward for the province in espousing Sustainable Tourism: cultural, culinary, conservation experiences in DSB and other sites such as Danjugan Island and Sustainable Agri-Tourism circuits.

The Visayan Daily Star recently reported in their November 12, 2014 issue that the Negros Occidental Protected Area Management Board voted 34-11, with one abstention, against the demolition of illegal structures in the multiple use zone of the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) protected area. The latest vote endangers the province’s last frontier and water source, according to the Governor Alfredo Maranon who voted “yes” to the demolition of the illegal structures.  The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) had earlier issued cease-and-desist orders (CDO) to 91 individuals halting the construction of “illegal structures” in the multiple-use zone of Salvador Benedicto. Per PENRO Director, structures located in areas identified under the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act and do not have PAMB clearance in consonance with the NIPAS Act are considered illegal. The Governor added that the NNNP is Negros Occidental’s last frontier; it used to have 100,000 hectares of forest and is the main source of water for the province’s people and for food production, however, now, very little remains.

Don Salvador Benedicto Malatan-og Falls

The youngest municipality of Negros OccidentalDon Salvador Benedicto more popularly know for its acronym “DSB” is situated 2,495 feet above sea level at the mid-center of the province, 47 kilometers of good highway from capital city, Bacolod.  Its composite jurisdiction  includes two barangays (barrios) from Murcia town, three from San Carlos City and two of Calatrava. Established as a town in 1983, it was intended to consolidate the area into a separate and independent local government unit to counter the insurgency concentrated here.  The town got its name in honor of the late Vice-Governor Salvador Benedicto, who was part in setting the Revolutionary Government of Negros Island and Siquijor during the Japanese occupation last World War II.

DSB’s Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it’s clean and green and no illegal structures obstructing the view!

Today, this newfound town has surpassed geographical, economic and social challenges, with its 10-year strategic master plan for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural & fishery development zones and because of this became a budding “eco” attraction in the province, albeit raw and emergent.

DSB Villa Ica

Though DSB is still pretty much rural, almost like a big barrio, it has already literally paved the way for bigger things to come, such as its infrastructure: impeccable picturesque highway that is the envy and self-touted “most beautiful” in the country. Its climate is moderate; cool for Philippine tropical standards with an even rainfall distribution throughout the year.

DSB’s Kali-kalihan Festival. Photo via DSB website.

Among its rural attractions are historical Barangay Igmaya-an, one of the strongholds of the province’s Revolutionary Government during the Japanese Occupation; the Monument in honor of its namesake, Don Salvador Benedicto; the picturesque mountain ranges of Mt. Mandalaganand Mt. Canla-on;  the remarkable Rice Terraces, a mini-replica of Banaue’s; alluring Malatan-og Falls amidst the lush green forest, ideal for mountain trekking; the 45-meter Hanging Bridge at Barangay Igmaya-an,  the “zig-zag” Road leading to the town and the impressive scenic freeway which provided the shortest route between San Carlos, the farthest city of the province to Bacolod, as well as network links to the rest of the Northern towns and cities. DSB prides itself with indigenous tribes still existing in the area and its folkloric fiesta “Kali-kalihan” commemorating the Feast of the Kali, a long lost culture of genuine Filipino heritage and the oldest form of weaponry, the “Arnis or Escrima.”

DSB Officials at the Tourism Planning workshop

DSB officials are willing and able to work towards sustainable development with its community based rural and agri tourism. However, protecting and conserving its natural environment and resources will be a realy challenge for the public and private stakeholders.

with Tourism Officers and Cultural Consultant, Maeng Java

Last March 2011, I re-visited DSB and gave a talk and presentation on Sustainable Tourism & Best Green Hospitality Practices, emphasizing the need to conserve its natural resources, with careful consideration for the local community while it embarks on new tourism development to ensure its sustainability for future generations.  Attended by DSB’s town officials and educators, invited guests from First District of the province comprised of councilors, tourism officers and civic leaders were present.

Act from “Anagas” the musical, original Hiligaynon musical written & directed by Ismael Java.

Several acts from “Anagas” was especially presented by DSB’s Cultural Consultant, play director and writer, Ismael JavaAnagas is an original Hiligaynon (regional dialect) theatrical presentation with a profound message about the environment.

With this visit and talk with DSB stakeholders, we hope that public and private stakeholders will be enlightened about the preservation of their town’s rich natural resources and will work together with The Negros Initiative, Conservation, Community Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism framework.

SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Greening a destination – for the tourism industry,  how do you make a city or host community sustainable? For real estate developers, how do you build an eco-town or sustainable subdivision? Check out the essence of a green cities and environmentally sound sites.

Sustainable Tourism, Socio Cultural Responsbility & Environmental Conservation Capacity Building & Training Program.

The Coron Initiative – Sustainable Tourism development and stewardship for Coron & Calamianes Islands.

 

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability: A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimize the use of energy, water and food, and production of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

Cities or towns compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City: green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Will DSB – Don Salvador Benedicto keep it green? Keep off greed?

The next steps environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns must put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative – the framework to a sustainable destination

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City.

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash- can be a source of CLEAN ENERGY!

 

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minoritiesCultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

Bacolod City’s Electric Masskara – a sustainable festival? NOT.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

In Japan: sustainable living with environmental risk IS the way of life. It takes a lot of discipline and culture of respect.

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. Watch Tokyo solid waste & recycling management video. Incredible!

Sustainable city, Seoul – rapid urban development with best green practices: transport, energy, water efficiency, sincere sustainability solutions with political will.

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Green Shanghai – origin of the “Shanghai Manual”-U.N.’s Sustainability capacity building.

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Boracay White Beach (mis)management_Band aid solution and lack of sustainability policy resulting to environmental destruction

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visionsintegrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainabilityrenewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road. Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum.Shanghai established eco city framework in 2010.

DO POSITIVE.  Learn the lessons from disasters: take action. Demand from your political representatives to do their job, work towards healthy, clean environment and community. For Metro Manila, hope is seen at the horizon with the Green Print 2030, and people should take action towards livability and sustainability.

Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao aftermath.

Join our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Learn more about greening your destination and how to make your home community sustainable. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices through our Green Travel Exchange.  Travel with a difference in Green Getaways  such as ourNegros Agri-Tours, discover Danjugan Island, a true ecotourism destination, Don Salvador Benedicto’ (DSB) for a health and wellness getaway, and Care for Coron Island-  meaningful journeys that touches the soul!

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange and Green Hotels stay, contact us.

The Boracay Initiative beckons – a serious call for conservation

We know the problems, we know the solutions. Sustainable development. The issue is the political will. ~ Ex PM Tony Blair

At Boracay White Beach, circa 1990 where Discovery Shores is now.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.  I first went to Boracay Island, Philippines (voted as one of the best beaches in the world) in the late 80’s and we had a most fantastic experience in paradise. We travelled in the typhoon season; there were no air-conditioned buses for the long, dusty and grueling overland ride with the locals and chickens alike; no jetty port – we had to wade in shallow waters to board a motorized small banca,across the strait in rough waters. Boracay was not affected by typhoons then, however during this this season called the Habagat, southwest monsoon winds, we had to land on the other side of the island (Bulabog) and hike all the way to our resort located on White Beach, our luggage, transported by a water buffalo-pulled cart.  There was no electricity, no air-conditioning and no hot water showers in those days, but our stay was pure and simple pleasure. We had the time of our life!

Boracay Beach Club one of the first handful of “resorts” in the island.

WORK AT WHITE BEACH. Little did I imagine that just after two years, I would return to the island and work for one of the pioneer resorts, and stayed further on for 10 years to manage two small properties, tour operations and transport company.  Within this period, I also handled three small airline companies that serviced Caticlan, two were defunct and the ultimate one was Seair, which I had to persuade convincingly to fly there. The rest is history.

Boracay Beach Club now: Astoria , a concrete and glass edifice at the congested White Beach.

PARADISE LOST- WELL, ALMOST. I left Boracay in 2001 after 10 years of working there as I felt that it was excessively crowded, over-developed in a destructive sense and regrettably deteriorating due to lack of Eco-balance. I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Returning exactly 21 years since I first came, with over 500 hundred resorts of all shapes, sizes and prices, there is hardly a trace of the pristine, peaceful and perfect paradise that I first saw. It is just chaotic congestion of lodgings, restaurants, bars, stores crowding with vans and tricycles, with no regard for proper zoning, maximum carrying capacity policies, no conservation value for natural environment, nor ecological protection not to mention, it ranks high in climate change risk, most especially on White Beach’s spectacular shoreline.

What have they done to the World's Best Beach?

What have they done to the World’s Best Beach?

FULL CIRCLE. It is perhaps the hands of fate that made me return to Boracay in 2010, as a Guest Speaker at Events Asia 2010 and as luck would have it, talk about Sustainable Events Management.  With my experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer and Conservation leader, I shared my knowledge and experience in sustainable tourism and environmental conservation. In 1975, Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists to study Peru’s rainforest long before eco tourism was trendy. With over 35 years of experience in sustainable tourism initiatives, it is the first to be carbon neutral in the country, doing reforestation projects in a total of 17,000 hectares in the Amazon and the Andes.

PLEDGE. After having seen the current deteriorated environmental status of the island, a  framework for a new Boracay Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, was conceived for stakeholders and local host community.

THE BORACAY INITIATIVE®- A CALL FOR UNITY AND SUPPORT.  The challenge is to espouse and implement The Boracay Initiative© (TBI) – an Environmental Conservation, Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism framework adapted from the UNWTO & Rainforest Alliance. TBI was presented to the island’s multi-stakeholders at the First Environmental Forum in 2010, organized with the cooperation of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources & Environmental Management Bureau -Region VI,  Office of the Mayor of Malay, Aklan, Boracay Foundation & Petron Foundation. However, to date, both public and private stakeholders have not taken it up at all.

 

LESS CONVERSATION, IT’S TIME FOR ACTION.  Fate brought me back to the island, which we have come to love and cherish, but it is high time for us to take action, less conversation! We must put all our efforts and resources to restore and conserve Boracay Island, its natural beauty and valuable coastal marine environement to provide sustainability, continued economic vitality and resilience for its stakeholders, the Philippines’ tourism industry and the future generations.

TBI was presented once again, to concerned citizens in the island, with the gracious hosting by Mandala Spa & Villas, multi-awarded Spa and ASEAN2012 Green Hotel winner. This time with the Society For Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. -SSTDI at the helm, TBI’s Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework is designed to be implemented with the cooperation of both private and public sector of Boracay Island,  with expert institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & The Clean Blue.

So, Boracay Island and the Philippines, when will you begin to espouse Sustainable Tourism?  Conserve & protect the island/ 7,107 islands for the future generations?

 

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and 

The International Ecotourism Society

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