Sakura Quality Announced as GSTC-Recognized Standard

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council is pleased to announce that ‘Sakura Quality An ESG Practice Standard’ for hotels and ryokans in Japan has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.

In Japan, particular qualities are associated with different flowers, and the quality associated with Sakura, the cherry blossom, is “spiritual beauty.” Sakura Quality began research in April 2011 and is currently working with 26 DMOs across Japan as a quality certification system that certifies quality together with DMOs across Japan (as of April 2022) and has adopted over 2,000 criteria for lodging facilities.

The ‘Sakura Quality An ESG Practice Standard’ for hotels and ryokans in Japan consists of 172 items: 117 environment-related items, 17 social-related items, and 38 business-related items.

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental principles. GSTC Recognition does not relate to the process of certification or accreditation.

“Sakura Quality has been conducting quality inspections of lodging facilities based on the Sakura Quality Standards that consist of items related to providing safe, secure, and honest services. In addition to providing safe, secure, and honest services, the ‘ESG Practice Standard’ consists of 172 criteria, including measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This is an attempt to certify and disseminate information on SDG initiatives in Japan,” said Mr. Takeshi Kitamura, Sakura Quality CEO.

“The use of the GSTC Criteria and framework is increasing in Japan, and we are pleased to see that Sakura Quality is joining and supporting those efforts with a GSTC-compliant approach and gaining GSTC Recognition of their standard,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

Currently, 11 destination standards, 34 hotel standards, and 15 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparency, and rigor. A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here.

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