Global Sustainable tourism Criteria

Document Sample
Global Sustainable tourism Criteria Powered By Docstoc
					Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Criteria (STC Partnership)
Working together for the universal adoption of sustainable tourism principles
Kate Dodson Deputy Director of Sustainable Development United Nations Foundation 17 September 2008

Overview of presentation
• Origins of STC Partnership • About the STC Partnership • History and milestones • Draft Sustainable Tourism Criteria: overview and uses • Next phase: mainstreaming sustainable tourism

Origins of the STC Partnership
• More than 130 certification systems around the world; • Rising consumer interest: 84% of Expedia customers interested in sustainable hotels and willing to pay 5% more; • Governmental programs and new regulations favoring sustainable tourism; • Tour operators, travel agents, and online travel distribution companies designing sustainable tourism programs and wanting to feature sustainable product; and • Rise in media attention to issues of sustainability and tourism.

Origins of the STC Partnership
• But no common definition of sustainable tourism. This has led to: – Market fragmentation – Supplier confusion – Consumer confusion – Greenwashing

“Beyond Backpacking,” Newsweek, July 21, 2008
“[It] depends on whom you ask. Ecotourism groups say that only responsible nature travel meets their criteria. Advocates of "sustainable tourism" say it's not a matter of destination but of giving back to the local community and culture. Meanwhile, hotels that do little more than leave guests' sheets and towels unwashed proclaim themselves stewards of the environment… “This fall, [20 organizations] will help unveil new global criteria for sustainable travel, to keep greenwashing at bay.”

About the STC Partnership
• A coalition of 26 organizations working together to foster increased understanding of sustainable tourism practices and the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles. • Developing the Sustainable Tourism Criteria, which will be the minimum standard that any tourism business should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for poverty alleviation.

About the STC Partnership

• • • • • • • • • •

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) Choice Hotels Condé Nast Traveler Conservation International ECOTRANS Expedia, Inc. Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) Hyatt Hotels Instituto do Hospitalidade The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA)


• • • •
• • • • • • • •

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Kenyan Ecotourism Society Rainforest Alliance Sabre/Travelocity Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) Solimar International Sustainable Travel International (STI) The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) Tourism Concern United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United Nations Foundation United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) VISIT

Initiated by Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Objectives of the STC Partnership
• Identify the common ground among existing certification and voluntary sustainable tourism programs. • Develop a list of baseline criteria that are relevant and applicable to accommodation providers and tour operators of all sizes and in all locations, across the industry. • Bring travel businesses, conservation organizations, certification bodies, UN agencies together in common understanding.

History and Milestones
• Common ground between Rainforest Alliance, UNEP, UN Foundation, UNWTO
– Rainforest Alliance: launch Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council – UNEP: fulfill objectives Sustainable Tourism Task Force’s track on certification and ecolabeling as part of the Marrakech Process – UN Foundation: stimulate market-based solutions to pressing conservation challenges – UNWTO: promote the sustainable development and management of tourism globally

History and Milestones: Phase 1
• Desk study to develop initial criteria (July-Aug 2007) – Over 60 existing certification and voluntary sets of criteria. – More than 4,500 criteria were analyzed.
• 26 criteria (version 1) were selected on the basis of being: – already represented in existing sustainable tourism programs; – universal; – achievable; – applicable to the operational phase of a business; – representative of four pillars of sustainability; – readily subject to measurement or verification.

History and Milestones: Phase 2
• Online survey and phone interviews with 17 international organizations working in sustainable tourism initiatives (Aug 2007). • UNF-hosted workshop in Washington, DC with 14 organizations to review criteria and objectives of initiative (Sept 2007). • Recommendations received helped develop version 2 with 37 criteria (Oct 15, 2007).

History and Milestones: Phase 3
• Consultation via umbrella organizations:
– International Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development of the Marrakesh Process (Dec 2007); – E-mail consultation to the full membership of IUCN (Nov 2007- March 2008); – E-mail consultation to the full membership of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas (Dec 2007- Mar 2008); – Consultation by Ecotrans to European sustainable tourism certification programs (through January 31, 2008); – E-mail and phone consultation through Expedia to global network of suppliers (10,000 via e-mail; 15 via telephone);

History and Milestones: Phase 3 (cont.)
• Launch of consultation website to facilitate online consultation: (Dec 2007) • Establishment of a 17-member international Steering Committee to coordinate the effort (Mar 2008). • UNF-hosted workshop in Washington, DC with 12 Steering Committee representatives to review criteria and objectives of initiative (Mar 2008). • Recommendations received helped develop version 3 with 37 criteria (Mar 26, 2008).

History and Milestones: Phase 4
• Expansion of Steering Committee from 17 to present 26 (JuneAug 2008) • Re-launch of online consultation phase through Steering Committee networks (July-Sept 2008). Included:
– Hotel membership of International Hotel & Restaurant Association (approx. 5000 members); – Membership of American Society of Travel Agents (20,000 contacts); – Membership of The International Ecotourism Society (700 members in 33 countries); – Network of Sustainable Travel International (22,000 e-mail subscribers); – Private sector membership of UNWTO (46 members)

History and Milestones: Phase 4 (cont.)
• UNF-hosted workshop in Washington, DC with Technical Review Working Group of Steering Committee review and develop final recommended criteria (Sept 16, 2008). • Recommendations received will develop final version 5, which will publicly launch at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (Oct 6, 2008).

History and Milestones: Summary
• Consultation summary
– Over 80,000 invited to provide feedback – At least 1,500 responses to consultation (about 35% tourism businesses and 65% other stakeholders) – Very geographically diverse responses

• Consultation results
– Minimum 91% approval for each criterion from industry (minimum 81% from general public survey) – 91% of industry would be willing to adopt the criteria

Sustainable Tourism Criteria: Overview and Uses
• Set of criteria organized around the four pillars of sustainable tourism:
– Demonstrate effective sustainable management; – Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts; – Minimize negative impacts to cultural heritage and maximize benefits; and – Minimize environmental negative impacts and maximize benefits.

Sustainable Tourism Criteria: Overview and Uses
• Example criteria (version 4):
– A.1.: The company has implemented a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scale, and that considers environmental, sociocultural, quality, health, and safety issues. – B.4.: The company facilitates local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell products that are based on the area’s nature, history, and culture (including food and drink, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.)

Sustainable Tourism Criteria: Overview and Uses
• Example criteria (version 4):
– C.3.: The business contributes to the protection of local historical, archeological, and cultural properties, and does not impede access to them by local residents. – D.1.3.: Energy consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted, while encouraging the use of renewable energy.

Sustainable Tourism Criteria: Overview and Uses to become more • Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes
• • • • • •

sustainable, and help businesses choose sustainable tourism programs that fulfill these global criteria; Serve as guidance for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programs; Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programs and businesses; Serve as a common denominator for media to recognize sustainable tourism providers; Help certification and other voluntary programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline; Offer governmental, non-governmental and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements; and Serve as baseline guidelines for education and training bodies such as hotel schools and universities.

Sustainable Tourism Criteria: Overview and Uses
• Specific uses from our Steering Committee:
– Serve as a fundamental input for the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council – Embed within Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas – Include in performance evaluation framework for the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism – Serve as guidance for’s “Go Green” website – Provide a framework for the ASTA Green Partner program

Next phase for STC
•Technical assessment ($238,500)
– Develop performance indicators through participatory process – “Field test” and host capacity building workshops at regional level – Continue consultation as per ISEAL Code of Best Practice – Develop programme of work with STSC

Next phase for STC
•Mainstream in private sector ($354,000)
– Seek broad endorsement of STC by travel industry – Develop/assemble STC-compatible educational and training materials for tourism businesses – Assemble and disseminate STC-compatible assessment and reporting tools for tourism businesses – Develop aggregation system to get STC-compliant product to new markets – Develop STC for airlines, cruise lines and meetings/events sector

Next phase for STC
•Communications/Public Affairs ($215,000)
– – – – Raise awareness within the travel industry Participate in conferences/events to brief industry on STC Develop online outreach Reach out to consumers

How can you get involved?
• Help advise next phases
– Technical input into indicator development – Provide input into tool development – Disseminate STC to your networks

• Adopt the Sustainable Tourism Criteria in your tourism projects and programs • Provide a testimonial about the STC for the public launch in October • Consider funding the STC Partnership in its implementation phase

Testimonial: American Society of Travel Agents
“ASTA feels it especially important to be a part of this global partnership that is leading the way in defining once and for all what it means to be a sustainable travel company. As an organization with its own Green Member program, it's incumbent upon us to ensure that our steps toward a travel retailers' green initiative were in sync with responsible global developments…” said William Maloney, Chief Operating Officer for ASTA. “The criteria for sustainable tourism will serve a dual purpose in that they will provide our members with much-needed guidelines for assessing future business partners' commitment to sustainable tourism while offering consumers clear and reliable information about the travel choices they make."

Testimonial: Travelocity
“Consumers deserve widely-accepted standards to separate green from greenwashed. These criteria allow true certification of sustainable practices in hotels and resorts and other travel suppliers,” said Jeff Glueck, chief marketing officer of Travelocity.
“They will give travelers confidence that they can make choices to help the sustainability cause. They also will help the forward-thinking suppliers who deserve credit for doing things right."

For more information, contact:
• Kate Dodson or Erika Harms, UN Foundation (kdodson@ or • Ronald Sanabria, Rainforest Alliance ( • Stefanos Fotiou, UNEP (

• Or visit: