Saturday, February 24, 2024

WTTC introduces sustainability guidelines for hotels

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched a set of 12 criteria it recommends hotels implement to drive responsible and sustainable tourism practices as part of the Hotel Sustainability Basics (Basics) verification scheme, which will enable tourist accommodation providers from around the world begin their sustainability journey.

WTTC said it is an industry-backed initiative to enable accommodation providers worldwide, regardless of their size, “to begin their sustainability journey.”

Basics emerged as a result of a clear demand from a group of influential global hotel brands and whilst there a great number of sustainability initiatives, Basics focuses on an achievable starting point. It will encourage all hospitality businesses to begin their sustainability journeys and redefine the non-negotiables of sustainability in the industry.

Made up of 12 key criteria, the Basics are achievable for all hotels to implement as a bare minimum. They serve as a stepping-stone to more complex sustainability schemes and even greater sustainability.

Basics has also been recognized by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance as the starting point for a net positive industry, who announced the latest version of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality.
 
Verification Scheme
In order to ensure the validity of the program WTTC partnered with Green Key and SGS to develop a simple online verification system to allow hotels to provide evidence and ensure they are following the Basics.

The verification scheme enables hotels and other tourist accommodation to be officially verified for meeting eight of the 12 criteria in the first year and demonstrate their commitment to working toward all 12 of the criteria by year three. Together, the criteria ensure the sector is eco resilient and adaptive to the changing needs of the planet.
 
Hotel partners
Six major international hotel groups, collectively representing tens of thousands of sites from around the world have now joined Basics as inaugural partners. The first 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, WTTC President & CEO, said “We are incredibly proud to have launched the verification scheme for Hotel Sustainability Basics. The initiative is a response to the sector’s need for a baseline for hotels and other tourist lodgings to start their sustainability journeys.

“Our research shows that most business owners are aware of their responsibility to the environment but many sustainability practices such as efficient water use initiatives are patchy. Basics fills the gap by creating that level playing field for the sector.
 
“It is testament to the need for such a scheme that already thousands of hotels from around the world have already signed up to Basics and are beginning their verification processes from today.”
 
Green Lodgings Trend Report
WTTC carried out an extensive international benchmarking exercise through the Green Lodgings Trends Report, learning from 27,000 accommodation providers on how they are currently fairing against the 12 criteria.

Crucially, this benchmark will allow WTTC to track the progress of Basics over time. Almost 100 per cent of accommodation providers implement at least one initiative to reduce inequality and 96 per cent have adopted linen reuse programs.

The report also showed many hoteliers are establishing sustainable practices but there is still a way to go for these to become common across the sector. Two-thirds of those surveyed have already begun to eliminate the use of certain single-use plastics such as straws and implementing other waste reduction initiatives.
 
Destination partners
A number of global tourism destinations have already recognised the strength of Hotel Sustainability Basics and demonstrated their commitment to ensure their hotels implement the Basics.

Azerbaijan was the first Destination Partner to support the Basics, followed by other sup-porters such as Belize, Colombia, and Mauritius.

Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board said: “The Basics are an important add-on to Azerbaijan’s sustainable tourism development strategy. We are commit-ted to prioritize sustainability throughout the entire value chain and customer journey.

“We take pride in being a country partner of this initiative and pledge to continue our efforts in promoting 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 and hosts alike.” 

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