Climate and Environment

Green tourism, hotel sustainability initiative: DOT, WTTC back climate change mitigation efforts

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Green tourism, hotel sustainability initiative: DOT, WTTC back climate change mitigation efforts

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Thursday expressed commitment to support the global climate change mitigation efforts by promoting green tourism, among others.

At the opening of the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit being staged in Manila, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat cited that while the tourism sector has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health crisis that prompted temporary lockdown in several areas across the globe gave and the halt in tourism activities gave the environment a reprieve and nature a chance to regenerate.

“We also saw a significant shift in tourist behavior and preference, and we seized this opportunity to shift the status quo to regenerative tourism, which seeks to leave a destination in a better state than it was before,” Puyat said.

She then called on other nations with the capacity to organize and provide a necessary framework in encouraging the onboarding of all sectors to the advocacy of sustainability.

“We are United for the Planet and the work that it entails. We stand firm in our mission to safeguard the environment from the negative impacts of travel and tourism, and we shall follow through with a stronger commitment to greening tourism,” the tourism chief said.

“We stand by the Glasgow Declaration and will continue our efforts in alignment with the Decade of Action and beyond towards addressing climate change-related concerns,” she added.

Puyat cited that the Philippines, as an archipelagic nation, is blessed to be in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. However, she acknowledges that the country is also challenged, as it is prone to natural calamities.

“Because of this, we fully understand the urgent need for disaster preparedness, resiliency, and climate change mitigation,” she said.

The Philippines is not alone in pushing for climate change mitigation efforts.

Hotel sustainability initiative launched

On Thursday, the WTTC at the global summit in Manila launched its “Hotel Sustainable Basics,” a globally recognized and coordinated set of criteria that will be implemented by hotels in minimum drive to responsible travel and tourism.

The WTTC said this initiative, which highlights 12 actions essential to hotel sustainability, is eyed to help hotels address and improve their environmental impact.

The criteria cited by the tourism council include actions to measure and reduce energy use, measure and reduce water use, identify and reduce waste, and measure and reduce carbon emissions.

They also added linen reuse program, the use of green cleaning products, the elimination of plastic straws, stirrers, and single-use plastic water bottles, the implementation of bulk amenity dispensers, as well as measures for the benefit of local communities.

These standards are developed by WTTC in close collaboration with a working group of 11 hotel companies with the support of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. They reviewed, debated and reworked after several rounds of industry consultation. The working group members are Accor, Barcelo Hotel Group, Huazhu Group Limited including their affiliate Deutsche Hospitality, Indian Hotels Company Limited, Jin Jiang Hotels, Louvre Hotels Group, Meliá Hotels International, Minor International, NH Hotel Group, and Radisson Hotel Group.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said the council launched the Hotel Sustainability Basics “to ensure no hotel, however small, is left behind in the drive to introduce a basis sustainability measures within a minimum level the next three years,”

“Sustainability is non-negotiable but not every small hotel has access to the science on how to make a difference. This gives everyone access to a global standard and provides consumers to travel with conference,” Simpson said.

“WTTC wants the hospitality industry to lead by example so that sustainability becomes the basic requirement used to drive change forward for this generation and the next,” she added.

The WTTC urged hotel operators, owners, associations, and investors globally to support the initiative and work across their networks to implement the criteria over the next three years.

It said that initially, eight of the 12 criteria are mandatory, while the four others can be committed to and covered within the first three years.

Wolfgang Neumann, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Chair, said that every industry must do its part to ensure the future of the planet and its people.

“By offering an understanding of the simplest steps hotels can take to become more sustainable, the Hotel Sustainability Basics will help to raise the base level of sustainability across the entire hospitality industry,” he said.

“This initiative acts as a steppingstone to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality which will enable every hotel to take a strategic and progressive approach to achieving a positive environmental impact, whatever their starting point,” Neumann added.

Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council also said the initiative is an excellent way toward hotels’ first step to sustainability.

“The GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels serve as the global standard for sustainable hospitality and the Basics map to eight of those that have been frequently mentioned by our global partners as essential first steps.  As such, GSTC supports the application of this program and we encourage users that do not comply to them currently take steps to move quickly to do so,” Durband said.



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