The travel and tourism industry needs to put sustainability at the forefront of everything it does and businesses need to lead by example — that’s the message from David Scowsill, CEO & president of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Scowsill asked leading sustainable tourism businesses to play their part in ensuring that the industry’s ethics are raised to the highest order.
WTTC just launched its 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards program and is calling for applications from companies in the industry who are setting the sustainability benchmark in their field. Scowsill explained that the purpose of the Awards is to be an inspiration to others and to educate governments and travel & tourism businesses about how to improve the sustainability of the Industry.
“We know that we have a responsibility for the millions of travelers each year and for the careful preservation of resources and protection of the planet,” Scowsill said. “We also know that we have a responsibility to provide millions of quality jobs to people, who are seeking fulfillment and quality of life through employment.”
Scowsill warned that “tourism can be a threat to communities when it is not carefully planned and managed. It is essential that our standards of ethics and sustainability are of the highest order.”
The awards represent six categories:
- Community Award — recognizes organizations committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage.
- Destination Award — recognizes destinations which show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices.
- Environment Award — recognizes organizations achieving environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change and sustainable operations.
- Innovation Award — recognizes innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by the industry in implementing sustainability in practice.
- People Award — recognizes organizations dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future.
- Sustainable Business Award — recognizes large tourism businesses which successfully integrate sustainable tourism best practices into their planning and operations.
Deadline for entries is November 14, 2014.
“We want to hear from outstanding applicants, who are maximizing social and economic benefits for local people, reducing negative impacts to the environment and supporting the protection of cultural and natural heritage in destinations, wherever they operate” said Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the Awards.
The final award ceremony will be a part of the WTTC Global Summit in Madrid, Spain in April, 2015.
In related news, Airbnb, a competitor to the traditional travel and tourism industry, recently announced that its North American guests alone save enough energy to power 19,000 homes for a year. A study released by the home-sharing company found that its business model promotes a more efficient use of existing resources and is a more environmentally responsible way to travel: Using Airbnb results in significant reductions in energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and encourages more sustainable practices among both hosts and guests.