Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Sustainability Assessment for Los Angeles County, California

The GSTC Destination Assessment is designed to introduce the destination management team to the core elements required for them to develop sustainable policies and practices by applying the GSTC Criteria to the specific destination. The Assessment process allows a destination to participate directly in GSTC application of the Criteria to the destination, to understand the destination’s sustainability status against the world’s leading standard, and to identify areas for improvement based on the GSTC Criteria. The Assessment is led by a GSTC expert with global experience in the practical evaluation of sustainability and best practices globally, and a thorough understanding of the GSTC Destination Criteria. GSTC, with partner support has conducted more than 40 comprehensive assessments globally.  The Criteria is aligned with the SDGS, and this becomes a part of the assessment process as LA County has requested. 

The GSTC Destination Assessment V2 is a tool for destination organizations to identify risk areas and opportunities for applying the GSTC Criteria to destination level stewardship.  Utilizing the framework of the GSTC Destination Assessment V2, Dr’s Bricker, Andereck, and Budruk, with the active participation of County representatives and stakeholders, will assemble and evaluate the County and document destination stewardship initiatives using the GSTC Destination Criteria, V2 framework. The GSTC Framework includes for key areas of sustainable tourism development:

A - Demonstrate sustainable destination management

B - Maximize economic benefits to the host community and minimize negative impacts

C - Maximize benefits to communities and culture; minimize negative impacts

D - Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts

This assessment will contribute to a county-level systematic review, by applying the GSTC Criteria to improve destination sustainability and inform strategic stewardship opportunities. This level of assessment will assist LA County in understanding how to systematically apply the GSTC Criteria to improve destination sustainability. As part of short- and long-term benefits of the assessment, LA County Tourism can expect to:

•             Benefit from GSTC expert analysis of the destination, and customized recommendations.

•             Build capacity among stakeholders in the GSTC Criteria and sustainable destination management.

•             Learn the destination's current sustainability status according to the GSTC Criteria.

•             Inform action needed for sustainability and stewardship planning and project work.

•             Catalyze decision-maker support for a destination sustainability agenda.

•             Initiate focused training and educational tools.

•             Use the Criteria as a baseline for monitoring and evaluation of destination performance.

•             Identify specific initiatives within LA County that may as “champions” of destination stewardship.

•             Identify challenges and areas that may be prioritized in statewide strategic tourism and resiliency planning.

•             Illuminate a baseline tourism stewardship region-level status according to the GSTC Destination Criteria, and which may be used to leverage within the destination stewardship strategic planning processes.