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Sustainability Blog

Welcome to our blog, which features a new topic every month, with different experts sharing their opinions and knowledge in these original articles.

*Please note that the views presented in these articles are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the Pacific Asia Travel Association

How to grow your business and give back to the marine environment using the Green Fins Handbook

by JJ Harvey, Operations Manager, Reef-World Foundation           The modern traveller is not what they used to be. The game has changed and competition amongst businesses is as high as it has ever been. In a similar situation to people applying for work they need to have a CV that stands above the rest, something that has more »

Community Based Tourism in Pha Mon and Mae Klang Luang in Thailand

 By Michelle Groothedde, Associate Intern Sustainability & Social Responsibility, Pacific Asia Travel Association. In Doi Inthanon National park, about 90 kilometres from Chiang Mai, in the North of Thailand, two communities, Pha Mon and Mae Klang Luang, both ethnic Karen communities, have worked in community based tourism for 11 and 18 years respectively. On a mini field trip we visited the two more »

Travel with Social Good in Nepal’s Community Homestays

by Sudan Budathoki, Senior Office -Online Branding & Communication, Royal Mountain Travel, on behalf of CommunityHomestay.com           While luxurious hotels with all the mod-cons can be a lavish way to travel, with travelers interested in getting to know local people and exploring different cultures, some may find this a limiting way of experiencing a country. If you’ve seen the more »

Share the world to ensure a sustainable future

Some businesses may feel threatened by the sharing (collaborative) economy but it is time for our society to change its view on the importance of owning ‘things’. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG12) focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. With this in mind, we need to consider sharing a little more and owning a little less to help more »

A Guide to Sustainable Travel for Seniors

by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer  Some seniors think that sustainable travel is not a suitable option for them, because it requires them to make extra efforts in most travel situations. However, it’s important to understand that it does not take much to be environmentally conscious during travel. Here are some tips that can help senior travelers minimize their impact more »

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

by Jackie Edwards, editor, researcher and writer  Sustainable Tourism: Ways Your Trip Can Have a Positive Impact When we go on holiday to a new place, it is increasingly important to us to learn as much as we can about the local atmosphere and culture. Often, the best part of the trip is when we are able to interact with the more »

When you talk about sustainable tourism, focus on it makes your guests’ experiences better

by Jeremy Smith, Editor & Co-Founder, Travindy The easiest way to understand why most people struggle to communicate sustainable tourism well, and to understand how to get it right, is to stop thinking about sustainable tourism. Instead, think about food. When you buy any food that comes in packaging, that packaging is covered with information. On the front, there’s the more »

“White Men in Suits” and Sustainable Tourism – Challenges for the ITB and Suggested Solutions

by Marta Mills (@oneplanetblog), Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Director, Transcaucasian Trail Association According to UNWTO, tourism’s role in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is to promote inclusiveness: inclusive sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, diversity, mutual understanding. The word “inclusive” appears in five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet one thing that was clearly missing from the ITB’s “Sustainable Tourism more »

The Bathroom Paradox

by Nicolas Dubrocard, Former Wild Asia Project Director, auditor for Travelife and Green Globe, and Director of Audit Diagnostic Solutions Tourism   I started my path on sustainable tourism exactly ten years ago in Morocco where I was supporting small accommodations and hotels to obtain the Green Key international eco label and to save water through Travel Foundation’s programme called Every more »

A micro-approach to sustainable tourism: how travelers can take small actions that result in large, positive impacts

By La Carmina, travel blogger and TV host @ lacarmina.com   Intro As a millennial travel blogger, I’ve noticed a rising interest among travelers my age for “authentic, immersive” experiences. I personally gravitate towards sharing stories in this vein, such as conservation safaris in South Africa, or village food tours in Vietnam. Skift’s recent report echoes this movement: “Arguably the most more »

Rethinking Inclusive Sustainable Coastal Tourism in Cox’s Bazar

by Maeve Nightingale, Mangroves for the Future Programme Manager, IUCN Home to a golden sand beach, towering cliffs, amazing surf, rare conch shells and colorful pagodas, Cox’s Bazar should long ago have been on the map as a popular tourist destination. Yet, little is known about this fascinating fishing port located in the South Asian nation of Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar more »

Ten Years of Transformational Tourism Across Asia

Celebrating a decade of best practice in responsible travel Ten years ago Wild Asia, a social enterprise in Malaysia, identified a need to work with industries, rather than against them, to improve social and environmental impacts of the private sector. One of those industries was tourism, and as a way to inspire and educate businesses from around the region, they more »

The Power of the Marine Tourism Industry in Fighting Climate Change

ฺby JJ Harvey, International Coordinator, Green Fins

marine tourism resized-james-harvey-bio-shot

It is not often that people associate the SCUBA diving industry or snorkelers with being a potential leader when it comes to fighting climate change or other marine conservation aspects in today’s climate. However, due to initiatives such as Green Fins, more and more diving and snorkelling businesses are becoming the new weapon in the fight to ensure the sustainability of one of the world’s fastest and increasingly popular activities in what is now the world’s fastest growing industry – tourism.

Green Fins is paving the way to unite politics and marine conservation efforts to ensure the sustainability of popular diving destinations around the world. Established through a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and The Reef-World Foundation, Green Fins uses a unique and proven three-pronged approach; green certifications of dive centres, strengthening regulations, and environmental education for dive staff, divers and governments. Over 400 dive and snorkel operators across six countries have signed up for free membership, and are using Green Fins as a platform to set examples of sustainable business operations. Participating members are awarded a unique certificate based on annual assessments that is co-signed by the national government, the United Nations, and The Reef-World Foundation.

more »


The Strategic Imperative of Recognised Leadership in the Travel and Tourism Industry

by Oliver Martin, Partner, Twenty31 Consulting (24 August 2016)Recognised Leadership: OliverMartin

The need for leadership in the travel and tourism industry has never been more critical. As a society and industry, we are grappling with large scale global and regional challenges – climate change, over-crowding at tourism sites and the resulting strain on infrastructure and social and economic inequality in many destinations – that require a new type of leadership from truly progressive entities.

Most governments appear unwilling or unable to lead, especially National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) needing to follow agendas dictated by national governments. Civil society, while highly engaged on sustainability issues, typically does not have the scale or infrastructure to deliver the required change. And multilateral associations, including the UNWTO, seem to be beholden to the political whims of national members.

more »


Cinnamon’s commitment to sustainable tourism

by Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Sri Lanka

At Cinnamon, Inspired Living means that everyone starting from our guests to our neighbours and every stakeholder of the Cinnamon offering is encouraged to live life to the fullest, be inspired by vibrant experiences and awakened to the potential of sustainable living.

While Sri Lanka gets worldwide attention drawn to its natural world, responsible tourists flock to experience Sri Lanka’s jewels in the wild thus, it is imperative to develop a sustainable model to showcase our stewardship towards environment and conservation for which we bagged the title ‘Best Wildlife and Marine Tourism Service Provider’ at the PATA InSPIRE Awards 2015. As one of the leading hospitality chains in Sri Lanka, Cinnamon is honoured to showcase Sri Lanka’s natural world as a sustainable tourism product.

ghOn the other hand, we are strongly committed to the seamless integration of sustainability throughout our value chain. Our approach is based on the triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social performance, and we conduct our operations in a manner that intersects advantageously with people and environments.

In the given context, we have taken a two-pronged approach in promoting sustainable tourism; on one hand, as an experience provider, highlighting iconic species such as Leopard, Elephant, Whale, Primates, Birding and dedicated photography tours to collectively promote the island’s natural diversity. As the other core purpose, we engage in conservation and awareness initiatives that help protect and sustain natural environments and uplift livelihoods in geographical areas we operate in.

more »


The Importance of Being a Responsible Traveller

by Johanna Meissner, Sustainability & Social Responsibility Associate, PATA

 

travelThe one thing I have always known I wanted to do in my life is to travel. The thought of experiencing what life is like in other places of the world has always motivated my wanderlust, so you could say it was only natural that I would end up pursuing a career in the tourism industry.

I was hoping that, by studying tourism management I could live out my passion of travelling and experiencing other cultures and places, meeting people from all over the world.

I found that responsible tourism is very well suited to cater to this exact way of travelling and I know I am not the only one seeking these kinds of experiences.

more »


Intimate Letter to Mother Nature

by Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA

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“Dear Mother Nature. I’m writing to apologise on behalf of humanity and those who have contributed to your poor health. I condemn those who have done it consciously and I hope that they have started their journey towards redemption. For those committing such deeds unconsciously, and making you ill purely out of ignorance, I hope I can make a small contribution by sharing my knowledge and make them aware of how they are affecting you.

I don’t know if it’s because of the position I currently occupy or if whether it is because I have simply become more aware of my environment but in the past several months of travel I have started to notice and pay m­­­ore attention to my surroundings and the poor condition of some of our tourism destinations.
more »


Earth Day at PATA 2016

Earth Day began in 1970 and gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy towards environmental issues. Forty-six years later, the Earth Day Network continues to lead with groundbreaking ideas and commendable action. To celebrate Earth Day 2016 the team at PATA contributed donations to Earth Day Network’s ‘Trees for the Earth” campaign, providing them with the means to plant more »

Bojo: How a Community Became an Icon

by Boboi Costas, Community Organiser, Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS); Founder, Grassroots Travel

by Boboi Costas, Community Organiser, Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS); Founder, Grassroots Travel

by Boboi Costas, Community Organiser, Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETAS); Founder, Grassroots Travel

There they were, debating deep into the night whether to buy that old village house, or not. On a night like this, the discussion sometimes turns into a lively argument, punctuated by the sound of nocturnal bird calls. A flash of lightning occasionally illuminates the mangrove canopy, followed by a distant roll of thunder on the horizon. It’s the beginning of monsoon. Finally, a decision was reached: they have to acquire that house, or it will fall into the hands of antique dealers in the city.

In 2009 I arrived in the river village of Bojo, Aloguinsan in the central Philippine island of Cebu. Its waterway snaked through a thin deforested mangrove forest, its water almost dark with algae and scum from the water buffalos the locals used to bring down into the river to bathe after a day’s toil in the farms, and from the waste dumped into the water. The river, fed by almost a hundred springs was an oasis where the whole community turned up to wash their clothes especially on weekends. Fishing devices for catching fries littered the water. It was dirty.

But it seemed the locals had the best of both worlds from farming and fishing. While waiting for the harvest season which happens twice a year, the men would venture out daily to the sea to fish (sometimes with dynamite) for a living. The women took care of the kids and wove grasses into mats to augment the family’s income. It seemed like all was well with the world.

more »


Reflections on Earth Hour 2016

by Laura Freeman, Sustainability Associate, PATA. On Saturday night the PATA team turned off their lights for one hour to show support for Earth Hour, a global event which celebrates our planet and harnesses the power of collective action to change climate change. There were over 1.2 million individual actions taken in 2016 and we are proud to say that more »

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