The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably shown us that doing business as usual cannot sustain humanity for much longer. Such a conclusion applies to various sectors of life, for example, instead of being the prophesized equalizer, the virus has proven to affect the most vulnerable disproportionately and ultimately increase the gap between the poor and the affluent. Another evident consequence is the structural change in the tourism industry, which is awakening to the world of changing demand, where travelers seek deep cultural experiences that preferably leave no carbon footprint and make the local communities better off.
Perhaps guided by this trend, The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has recently launched its ‘Hotel Sustainability Basics’ (HSB), a globally recognized and coordinated set of criteria that properties should incorporate in their operations as a minimum to drive responsible tourism. The initiative was launched on April 22nd, at the prestigious Global Summit held in Manila, Philippines, and will help hotels address and improve their environmental impact.
Developed under the leadership of WTTC with a working group of 11 hotel companies supported by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, it brings forward 12 actions that will help improve the base level of sustainability across the entire hospitality sector by providing every property with a starting point on this journey.
The initiative has already gained support from major global groups such as Jin Jiang International (Holdings) Co., Ltd., Louvre Hotels Group and Radisson Hotel Group, Accor, Barceló Hotel Group, Meliá Hotels International, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), as well as prominent hotel associations such as the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Hotel Association of India (HAI), and many more.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We are launching 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 confidence. 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.”
The Hotel Sustainability Basics employs criteria targeted at measuring and reducing energy and water use as well as carbon emissions, identifying and reducing waste, reusing linen, eliminating plastic straws, stirrers, and single-use plastic bottles, implementing bulk amenity dispensers, and benefitting local communities.
While this provides a clear starting point for all the industry stakeholders, it should by no means be the final goal. WTTC stresses the need to continue revising the criteria and the program as properties are gradually reaching the standards outlined in HSB and becoming ready to take further steps towards a greener and more equitable future.