• Majority of Intercruises shore excursions to be GSTC certified by 2023
• Cruise lines able to offer GSTC certified shore excursions to guests
• In-house developed sustainability management system and experiences development process certified against the GSTC Criteria
• Intercruises is the first international shore excursions provider with GSTC certification

Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services, an experienced global business offering ground handling and port operations services to the ocean and river cruise industry, has achieved Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certification for its sustainability management system (SMS) and experiences development process. Intercruises is now able to create experiences that cruise lines can offer to their guests as GSTC certified shore excursions. As part of an ongoing certification plan and a commitment to leading sustainability standards, Intercruises successfully completed different onsite and online audits carried out by Control Union, an independent third-party global certification organisation accredited by the GSTC.

“With this certification, we are driving our sustainability agenda and can now further support our partners’ sustainability efforts, providing GSTC certified shore excursions that cruise lines can offer to guests and help them make more sustainable choices,” said Virginia Quintairos, Intercruises Business Development Director. “Our goal is to have our own shore excursions portfolio – thousands of experiences around the world – certified against the GSTC Criteria within the next twelve to eighteen months.”

In a GSTC certified shore excursion, all destination partners and operations processes involved in the experience have been assessed against the GSTC Criteria to ensure a more sustainable approach. Once certified by Intercruises, cruise lines will be able to contract shore excursions and promote them to cruise guests as GSTC certified. Operating in more than 50 countries and offering thousands of shore excursions in hundreds of ports, Intercruises is the first international shore excursion provider to achieve GSTC certification for its SMS and experiences development process, which were developed in-house by the Intercruises team.

“By gaining certification for each of their regional locations, Intercruises is taking a practical and meaningful step in external verification of sustainable practices in their operations,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “Their clients can be assured of a significant degree of sustainability, which will have an ongoing positive impact.”

Intercruises’ central sustainability team, working with local destination teams and partners, utilises the SMS combined with the GSTC Criteria to monitor and evaluate the entire supply chain for shore excursions. This includes activity and tour operators, restaurants, venues, guides and transportation providers, and is part of an ongoing feedback loop to continually enhance destination sustainability.

Intercruises’ sustainability experts will provide a detailed report and advice to all individual destination partners on how to enhance their specific practices to be part of GSTC certified shore excursions, and on how to become GSTC certified themselves. Additionally, partners have access to an online platform where they can find sustainability best practices based on their specific activities.

The Intercruises SMS was developed in-house and is built on established digital platforms, which enables scalability and guarantees that data cannot be manipulated. Furthermore, the system promises full transparency, with all data accessible to the entire Intercruises team, and key dashboards available both for their internal teams and clients to view.

The majority of existing Intercruises shore excursions will be evaluated in the system during 2022, with the aim of having a large portfolio of Intercruises GSTC certified shore excursions available to cruise lines and guests in 2023.

About Global Sustainable Tourism Council
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria.

There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation of Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; GSTC provides an accreditation program through its partner Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies.

The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals, and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.