It is a program that seeks to categorize and certify each tourism company according to the degree to which its operations comply to a model of sustainability. To this effect, four fundamental aspects are evaluated:
1. Physical-biological parameters
Evaluates the interaction between the company and its surrounding natural habitat.
2. Infrastructure and services (Exlusive for Lodging Companies)
Evaluates the management policies and the operational systems within the company and its infrastructure, regarding the energy saving, water polluting and waste handling policies and technology.
2. Service Management (Exclusive for Tour Operator Agencies)
Comprises the process by means of which, the company considering all the elements internal and external, and designs a turistic product in accordance with the trends of the market and the proper characteristics of the country and places in where goes to operate.
3. External Client
Evaluates the interaction of the company with its clients in terms of how much it allows and invites the client to be an active contributor to the company's policies of sustainability.
4. Socio-economic environment
Evaluates the identification and interaction of the establishment with the adjacent communities, analysing for example, the degree in that the tourist companies answer to the growth and development of the region, with the generation of new employment or the achievement of benefits in pro of the collectivity.
How it works?
For each and every one of these items a list of specific questions was designed to help evaluate how thoroughly the firm complies with a series of standards previously established.
Each and every one of the questions refers to an element of sustainability with which the firm should comply in order to qualify in any one of the different stages or levels of fulfillment.
To measure and fix these different levels, the CST program provides a system of "sustainability levels"", on a scale of 0 to 5, in which each number indicates the relative position of the firm in terms of sustainability.
What does it mean for the Tourist Companies to be categorized by the CST?
If the first level of a category is achieved (level 1), it means that the company has taken the first step on the process of sustainability. The higher levels correspond to stages that are each one more advanced than the previous one, peaking on level 5, which means that the company is considered outstanding in terms of sustainability. The following table shows the correlation between the levels and the percentage attained:
In terms of sustainability, the degree of fulfillment signified by each level should be concomitant with the different aspects mentioned. For example, to achieve a level 3, it is necessary to complete at least with 60% of the established conditions for the four areas evaluated: physical-biological parameters, infrastructure and services, service management (excusive for Tour Operator Agencies), external client and socio-economic environment. The level assigned to any company will always be the lowest level achieved in any of the areas. It is expected that this policy will encourage companies to advance towards the model of sustainability by giving the same degree of consideration and importance to each of the four areas evaluated.
The Levels of Categorization
The CST system is designed to include a series of direct incentives that will increase in benefits for each company, in direct proportion to its increased rating. This means that as the rating increases, more and better benefits will be received; international and national publicity and promotion, specifically designed for the CST; training for its personnel; priority participation in various world tourism fairs and events, etc.