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CU Greece Certifies First GSTC Hotel in the World!

This month, Control Union certified the first Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) hotel in the world! The client, Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites, is a small luxury hotel on the Greek island of Rhodes. Control Union Greece’s Nikos Bakaris conducted the audit at the end of April, reviewing the hotel’s practices against a diverse set of criteria including environmental impact, working environment, and respect for local cultural heritage.

Melenos Lindos is a luxury boutique hotel located within the village of Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes. Owner Michalis Melenos, who was raised in Lindos, dedicated 13 years to his vision of creating a “small village” within Lindos. He hired a local architect to design the hotel and worked with artists to create the hotel’s traditional mosaics and artwork, inspired by 17th century Lindian mansions and created with local materials. “We have made a tremendous effort to respect Lindos’ environment and community, both in our daily practices and in the construction of the hotel itself,” said Melenos. In addition to traditional craftsmanship, Mr. Melenos has implemented a number of on-site sustainability programs. The hotel has a linen re-use initiative to reduce water consumption, a recycled waste program, and has implemented low energy lighting throughout the site. It also has a private garden and orchard, where staff members grow fruits and vegetables that are used in the hotel restaurant.

The certification itself was created by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, an international organization launched in 2007. The GSTC was the brainchild of 32 diverse stakeholders, who came together to form the four pillars of sustainability – sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, cultural impacts, and environmental impacts – and set criteria for any business that strives to be labeled “sustainable” in the tourism industry. “The GSTC criteria go a step beyond the other sustainability certifications on the market,” said Socrates Antsos, Certification Manager at Control Union Greece. “While most certifications focus only on environmental impact, GSTC is more holistic, also measuring the business’ relationship with the community, respect of traditional cultural heritage, and opportunities for local employment.”

In 2016, Control Union became the first and only certification body in the world to earn GSTC Accreditation, which is managed by Accreditation Services International (ASI). “We are very pleased to confirm CU’s accreditation for GSTC H&TOs.” says Phil Crocombe, GSTC program manager at ASI. “Over the last ten years CU has demonstrated its competence and integrity as an independent certifier for other schemes; we are pleased to see that CU has added a new standard to its portfolio of services.”