The Sustainable Tourism Pledge is a united effort between UNESCO, Expedia Group and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote sustainable tourism and heritage. While it is being piloted in Thailand, the intention is to spread the concept around the world, changing the nature and impact of global tourism.
The pledge takes an industry-first approach to environmental and cultural protection, requiring hotel operators to introduce firm measures to eliminate single-use plastics and promote local culture. By sharing information on what you are already doing towards these aims and what more you are planning for the next 12 months, hotels can showcase their commitment for potential guests to see.
With tourism already shaken up by COVID-19, there has never been a better time to implement world-changing ideas, especially those that show your property cares about your customers. Now more than ever, travellers are more inclined to look for memorable travel experiences in new and interesting cultures, staying in sustainable, responsible properties.
While the actions of one or two individual properties will make little noticeable difference to Thailand’s environment and communities, the combined impact of hundreds of properties signing the pledge has the capacity to completely change the nature of tourism here and across the globe.
“The reality is that everyone needs to play their part in protecting the planet and in protecting culture” said Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture. “The Sustainable Tourism Pledge aims to turn words into action. This collaboration with Expedia Group and the pilot initiative for Thai tourism is about taking those steps to minimise waste in the tourism sector and promote the role of culture for sustainable development. This is good for the planet and for communities.”
“The Pledge demonstrates our joint commitment to promoting sustainable tourism and enhancing environmental consciousness across the travel industry,” said Mr. Ang Choo Pin, Senior Director for Government and Corporate Affairs, Asia at Expedia Group. “In particular, we will collaborate closely with the hospitality sector to enhance environmental and sustainable tourism consciousness and practices across Thailand”.
In order to keep the impact and momentum going, the pledge must be renewed each year, with fresh actions promised to help towards the overall goals. The commitments for the year ahead must be measurable and should be achievable to ensure that, little by little, huge changes can be enacted.
The pledge is designed to inspire and provide incentives to local tourism businesses in key destinations, such as coastal areas and World Heritage sites, to support sustainable tourism and safeguard heritage in line with the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals.