Tourism continues to develop different initiatives to continue growing in harmony with the environment.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC, for its acronym in English) presented days ago the Basics of Hotel Sustainability Basics, which is an industry-backed scheme is a set of globally recognized criteria that all hotels must implement at least to promote the industry to a more responsible and sustainable model.
WTTC announced that Basics will reach out to tourism accommodation providers from around the world, regardless of size, to begin their transition to sustainability.
Comprised of 12 key criteria, Basics arose as a result of clear demand from a group of influential global hotel brands, and while there are a large number of sustainability initiatives, this program focuses on an achievable starting point.
Basics has also been recognized by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance as the Starting Point for a Net Positive Industry, which announced the latest version of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality.
To ensure the validity of the program, WTTC partnered with Green Key and SGS to develop a simple online verification system that allows hotels to provide evidence and ensure they are following the basics.
The verification scheme allows hotels and other tourist accommodation to be officially certified for meeting eight of the 12 criteria in the first year and demonstrating their commitment to work towards achieving all 12 criteria by the third year.
Together, the criteria ensure that the sector is eco-resilient and adaptable to the changing needs of the planet.
Six major international hotel groups, collectively representing tens of thousands of locations around the world, have joined Basics as inaugural partners. Early hotel groups include well-known brands such as Accor, Jin Jiang International, Louvre Hotels Group, Meliá Hotels International, Meininger and Radisson Hotel Group.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the WTTC, said: "We are incredibly proud to develop our hotel sustainability basics and verification scheme. The initiative is a response to the industry's need for a baseline for hotels and other accommodation to tourism introduce the demanding standards of sustainability”.
In addition, Simpson assured that, "Our research shows that most business owners are aware of their responsibility towards the environment, but need a step-by-step guide that is scientifically verifiable. It is a testament to the need for such a scheme that Already thousands of hotel properties around the world have committed to implementing Basics, and can begin the verification process today."
Inge Huijbrechts, Global Senior Vice President of Sustainability, Safety and Corporate Communications at Radisson Hotel Group, said: "Hotel Sustainability Basics is meeting a new and unanswered demand in the hospitality industry: to provide a strong, reliable and clear label for essential hotel sustainability. It is important that we define responsible travel to preserve the planet and protect communities.With Hotel Sustainability Basics we offer the traveler a clear sustainable stay option for all types of hotels around the world.
"Radisson Hotel Group is committed to implementing the basics of hotel sustainability across all of its 1,100 hotels by 2025. We do this together with our shareholder Jin Jiang International, its subsidiary Louvre Hotel Group, and other major hotel groups and destinations around the world."
Green Accommodation Trends Report
WTTC conducted an extensive international benchmarking exercise through the Green Accommodation Trends Report, learning from 27,000 accommodation providers on how they are currently meeting the 12 criteria.
Crucially, this benchmark will allow the WTTC to track Basics progress over time.
Nearly 100% of accommodation providers implement at least one initiative to reduce gender inequality and 96% have adopted clothing reuse programs.
The report also showed that many hoteliers are establishing sustainable practices, but there is still some way to go before they become commonplace across the industry.
Two-thirds of those surveyed have already begun to phase out the use of certain single-use plastics and implement other waste reduction initiatives.
New practices were also highlighted in the report.
Nearly half of those surveyed have replaced small plastic toiletry bottles with bulk dispensers and a third now offer vegetarian options for every dish in their food and drink supply.
In addition to the Alliance, WTTC collaborated with other key industry figures, including representatives from Greenview, WTTC member hoteliers, Expedia, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Trip.com Group, as well as international organizations SGS and Green Key certification.
Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance said: "We are incredibly proud to be working together with the World Travel & Tourism Council to launch the Essentials of Sustainability Hospitality. Basics is a key part of the Alliance's Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality, which sets ambitious goals to create a prosperous and responsible global hospitality industry that gives back to the destination more than it takes.
"Net Positive Hospitality is a tremendous goal for us. Going beyond net zero and really contributing to the future of the world is a bold ambition, but one that I believe the industry can achieve."
Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) said: "Hotels around the world must move towards sustainability quickly, but the first step can be the most difficult.
"WTTC's Hotel Sustainability Basics provide a great way to understand and get started. With twelve clear actions that map to GTSC's eight industry criteria, the basics are indeed an essential part of the journey" .
Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, said: "Sustainability is a collective goal. As demand for sustainable options increases, Trip.com Group will deepen cooperation with our partners, including the WTTC, and train hotels around the world to adopt sustainability best practices.
Several global tourism destinations have already recognized the strength of the basic concepts of hotel sustainability and have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring that their hotels implement them.
Azerbaijan was the first destination partner to support the Basics, followed by other supporters such as Belize, Colombia and Mauritius.
Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, said: "The Basics is an important complement to Azerbaijan's sustainable tourism development strategy. We are committed to prioritizing sustainability throughout the value chain and customer journey. .
"We are proud to be a partner country in this initiative and we pledge to continue our efforts to promote responsible tourism practices. Our mission is to care for the country's intangible and tangible resources for future generations to enjoy, and a tourism industry that benefits both visitors as well as hosts".