• Sabi Sabi

    Photo credit by Sabi Sabi Game Reseve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

  • Tswalu

    Photo credit by Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

  • IMG_3851

    Photo credit by !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, Western Cape, South Africa

  • Amakhala

    Amakhala Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa

About Us

The Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance Africa, formerly known as the Sustainable Tourism Network Southern Africa (STNSA), is an alliance of sustainable tourism certification stakeholders in Africa, with an initial focus on countries in southern and East Africa. The Alliance aims to enable an integrated approach to sustainable tourism certification throughout the continent.

The Alliance was formed because the external environment is characterised by trends towards international accreditation, harmonisation, dual certification and mutual recognition between standards-setting organisations. The Alliance provides services on behalf of members seeking to secure international recognition, mutual recognition and other forms of partnerships.

Our Vision

A collaborative, integrated approach to sustainable tourism standards-setting and certification in Africa for the benefit of people, the environment and business.

Our Mission

To serve as a platform for generating and sharing knowledge, skills, capacity, networks and other resources to create a more enabling environment for sustainable tourism standards and certification in Africa. 

Our overall objectives

  • Build regional capacity to reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, and promote resource efficiency through sustainable tourism management practices
  • Facilitate an integrated approach to sustainable tourism standards-setting and certification that will achieve higher levels of market and development impact, as opposed to certification systems operating in isolation from one another

Our specific objectives

  • Facilitate the sharing of best practice and harmonisation among sustainable tourism standards-setting and certification bodies in Africa
  • Generate knowledge and understanding of demand for sustainable tourism products in Africa’s major tourist source markets
  • Increase demand for certification by travellers, tour operators and tourism businesses by demonstrating the added value
  • Stimulate activities and investments of the private sector to promote sustainable tourism by demonstrating the benefits and opportunities of particular management practices, and the impacts of sustainable tourism initiatives
  • Represent the interests of members in international meetings, conferences and forums
  • Facilitate the implementation of specific projects that are relevant to sustainable tourism as identified by members

Structure of the Alliance

Alliance structure

The Alliance’s programme of work during this period is organised into five key thematic areas each driven by a Portfolio Committee (PFC). PFC Chairs are elected on a bi-annual basis along with a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Alliance who form an Executive Committee together with the Secretariat.

Our work packages


Thematic Content/activities

Standards and sharing of best practice
  • Identify needs of certification programmes
  • Document best practice in tourism certification (standards, operating procedures, financial models) and share with Alliance members
  • Support cooperation between certification systems based on analysis of standards, making use of third-party resources like the ITC standards map and database
  •  Provide training on GSTC and other accreditation programmes
  •  Facilitate study trips and other types of information sharing between member certification programmes, depending on resources
Market development
  • Facilitate and disseminate market research
  • Lobby tourism boards to showcase certified products in their marketing efforts
  • Promote joint marketing by Alliance members
  • Develop campaign materials to support Alliance objectives
Impact analysis
  • Develop methodologies for measuring impact that can be utilised by members
  • Train members on impact assessment
  • Collect case studies and other impact information and share with members and target groups via the Alliance website
  • Support members to develop the business case for sustainable tourism certification
Advocacy and lobbying
  • Keep abreast of development within GSTC, Eco Mark Africa, RETOSA, UNWTO etc. and identify opportunities and threats to Alliance members
  • Survey Alliance members as required to identify needs and concerns related to the above
  • Lobby processes/initiatives/bodies as required and report back to members


Membership is based on signing of a commitment form stating the terms and conditions of membership.  Members commit time, expertise and information. The categories of membership are:

  1. Certification scheme owners and certification bodies based in Africa
  2. International and/or regional certification scheme owners and certification bodies involved in tourism certification in Africa
  3. Business development service providers (BDSPs) in Africa providing services to tourism businesses and/or certification schemes
  4. Tourism boards and tourism ministries responsible for creating an enabling environment for sustainable tourism certification / seeking to position their responsible destinations in the marketplace
  5. Regionally focused organisations with a stake in sustainable tourism certification
Copyright © 2019 Sustainable Tourism Alliance Africa.