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Credit: Shutterstock

Fancy sipping a smoothie, long drink, coconut water or any other beverage using a straw? Make sure to make the sustainable choice when doing so. In short, refuse single-use plastic straws and choose a reusable alternative. These decisions are key to making our world a cleaner and better place.

Single-use plastic straws simply do not have a place in our society as they don’t get along with our environment. Although single-use plastic straws amount to only a tiny fraction of plastic pollution in our ocean, their small size and light weight makes them one of the most insidious polluters. Not making their way into the recycling bins, plastic straws cause beach pollution and threaten the life of many marine animals.

We therefore invite you to pick a reusable drinking straw of your preference, always keeping it with you and spreading the word to encourage others to join the movement in reducing and preventing plastic waste that harms our environment.

  • Bamboo: Go back to nature with a natural and reusable bamboo straw. They are not only durable but also beautiful. They often come with a handy cleaning brush to wash them out for years of use. You can find some more tips for cleaning and being nice to your straw here.
  • Silicone: Light and unbreakable, silicone is great for its practicality. Choose a silicone straw made from high quality food grade silicone that will help you save plastic straws from polluting our environment and protect your teeth.
  • Stainless-steel: Prefer a very durable and elegant option? Go with a stainless-steel drinking straw which is stain-free, rustproof, and scratch-proof. You won’t have to worry about metallic aftertaste. If you like fine cutlery, complete your silverware collection by purchasing a set of stainless steel straws. Read more about benefits of going stainless-steel here.
  • Glass: Looking for something classy? Go glassy with a clear lead-free glass straw alternative. The durable straws are shatterproof and are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Both ends are smooth and round which makes the straw comfortable to use and safe. Choose the style and size that suits your lifestyle.
  • Acrylic: This option may be perfect to use in your tumblers. Go with an innovative, reusable, acrylic straw which can bend like normal straws. From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, colorful reusable straws from food-safe plastic increase the fun at any gathering.

Apart from these, we invite you to chew on innovative ideas such as edible straws. Check out these Eatapple straws which are made from leftovers of Germany’s apple juice production.

Interested in fighting the war against straws? Be inspired by some examples here.

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by Marta Mills (oneplanetblog.com), sustainable tourism specialist and sustainability adviser for the Transcaucasian Trail

 

 

 

Exactly a year ago after ITB Berlin 2017, I wrote White Men in Suits and Sustainable Tourism for PATA’s Sustainability Blog, referring to the nationality, race and gender imbalance of speakers at ITB, but also at other conferences and events in the tourism industry. Has anything changed at ITB2018?

The only non-male panel at ITB CSR Day, 9 March 2018. Still pretty imbalanced.

This article is not meant to provide solutions but simply describe a status quo in relation to the inequality. And I have nothing against people wearing suits. But in this context, the suits represent the (mostly) white men who spend their time behind a desk in a city office block as opposed to working on the ground in tourism destinations. They know how to manage big tourism or airline companies, or are respected academics, but often have little practical knowledge that could then be worth sharing with destination practitioners during ITB panel discussions.

Quick look back at 2017

The whole CSR programme of events last year showed the lack of inclusiveness and balance, but there was one particular session (“How Can Sustainable Travel Offers Be Marketed Successfully?”) that prompted me to write. Seven white men in suits, six Germans and one English, discussing sustainability in tourism.  How ironic.

The “White Men in Suits” panel on sustainable travel at ITB 2017

I wanted (and still want) to find out who and how makes the final decision on the structure of the panels, and why there seem to be the same speakers year after year. Is it really that hard to find a women specialist, or someone from the southern hemisphere? Neither in 2017 nor in 2018 ITB responded to my questions.

Hopes for 2018

Considering a few significant events that sparked the worldwide debate on gender inequality – the Harvey Weinstein case of sexual abuse allegations, the #MeToo movement, now the most recent outrage at unequal pay at the BBC, to name a few – I hoped that the situation at ITB might change this year.

Also, in the written foreword to the  CSR Program, Rika Jean-François, the ITB CSR Commissioner, mentioned that in 2018, the tourism industry will have to deal with numerous challenges, including “gender inequality and discrimination due to sexual orientation (…) If we see how many seminars are still dominated by men, even in the sustainability sector, we must invite women to raise their voice – women are definitively carrying half of heaven on their shoulders”. Wise words. But…

 ITB 2018

Take the panelists for the CSR Program 2018. In Hall 4.1 (Responsible/Adventure Travel hall) on the Big Stage, there were 95 men and 44 women (7-9 March). Discussions in Halls 7.1 saw 78 men and 22 women. But during the ITB CSR Day (!) there were 16 male panelists and only one woman. Three out of four sessions had men-only panels. The last had five men and that one woman. All except two men were German, all were white. Er… Unbelievable?

At the end of this last session, its moderator Matthias Beyer who also moderated last year’s aforementioned “all-men-in-suits” session, pointed out that „one woman joining the panel this year is an improvement but certainly it is not satisfactory“.

Recycled speakers

And if we are comparing these both sessions moderated by Matthias:  three of the panellist were on both panels. That again made me think: who and how selects the panels for ITB? Is there a pool of “recycled speakers” that are always invited, based on some unwritten – or maybe written, somewhere – criteria? Surely, these speakers are experts in their area, but also, surely, there are so many others that never get approached. Why not? Do the organisers even want to go that extra step and go beyond the old, recycled bunch?

Matthias Beyer, Prof. Dr. Edgar Kreilkamp and Norbert Fiebig, participants of panels in 2017 and 2018

 “Others take the decision”

„In general, I totally agree with you that ITB panels require a much better balance in terms of race, nationality and gender“, Matthias Beyer said. I asked him whether he had any say in the selection of the speakers on his panels. „The influence for me as a moderator is limited. I can make suggestions but others take the decision. In 2018 my whole panel was fixed before I came into play“.

Can he refuse to moderate such imbalanced sessions? „To refuse a moderation is certainly an option but then you lose any influence. I prefer to remain involved and to try my very best to initiate and encourage changes“, he said.

OK, so „others take the decion“. That made me think, again, who …

ITB, wake up!

I want to emphasize again that the worldwide perspective doesn’t only come from the European, white middle-aged men in suits. Particularly during debates on supposedly more inclusive and fairer sustainable tourism. When will ITB, WTM and other big events start taking notice?

Does Rika have any impact on the composition of the panels, at least for the CSR Day? If not her, then who?

Hopes for 2019?

 Rika admitted that she was “totally aware of the unbalanced number of female and male speakers at the ITB Convention. I can assure you that I am also trying to change this and as CSR commissioner have discussed the phenomena also with our teams and the relevant co-organizers and scientific directors”.  She added: “You can be sure that I will work on it and readdress it again and again. This is one reason why I initiated the Gender Equality Seminar during ITB 2018 -as a start of a new series. We will support the dialogue and we will keep on going.”

 One seminar is a step in the right direction, but it is a tiny drop in the ocean. I’d like to see more inclusion and more diversity on other panels that not necessarily devoted to gender equality! Is it so much to ask to have a mix across the board to discuss a variety of topics, so this issue of imbalance and inequality doesn’t draw attention and it is not an issue anymore?

Let’s see if I am here this time next year, complaining about white European men in suits at ITB 2019.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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Credit: Jeremy Smith on WTM

Last week, I spent a night in a hotel in Brussels that has taken a circular economy approach to redesigning the way its loyalty scheme works. Following on from my previous blog about how we in the industry can engage tourists by making them proud to be part of our efforts to promote sustainability, I want to look today at how rethinking the way such loyalty programmes operate could further help deliver on our aims.

Most people staying in a hotel – especially a city-based one – don’t just stay in the hotel. They wander out and explore. So why don’t hotels create partnerships with ethical shops, experiences, restaurants, low carbon transport alternatives and more in the neighbourhoods where they work. Such a ‘Hotel Eco Loyalty Programme’ (HELP) could provide me with discounts and incentives at these establishments and operators, helping me discover the city through them while supporting their efforts to assist the communities and environments where they work.

Read the full blog post here.

By JEREMY SMITH for WTM

 

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France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery

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Plastic glasses, knives, forks and food boxes are pictured in a takeaway restaurant in Paris AP. Credit: The Independent

Critics claim the new law violates European Union rules on free movement of goods

France has passed a new law to ensure all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials.

The law, which comes into effect in 2020, is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – an ambitious plan that aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.

Although some ecologists’ organisations are in favour of the ban, others argue that it has violated European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Read the full article here.

By Shehab Khan for The Independent.

 

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Credit: WWF on medium.com

As Earth Hour 2018 approaches, Jochem Verberne, Director of Global Partnerships at WWF, sets out how companies can put nature at the heart of business for mutual benefit.

For Earth Hour 2018, at 8.30pm local time on March 24th, we are inviting the world to #Connect2Earth to spark a global conversation about our relationship with nature and how we can live more sustainably.

For business, this means asking what your company or sector can do for nature and sustainability rather than what they can do for you, and how enterprise can serve purpose and responsibility.

At WWF, we accompany partners on a transformative journey — from mapping environmental risks and opportunities, through developing joint initiatives, to catalysing sector-wide change and restoring life on Earth.

Read the full article here and find out more about seven ways your business can take the journey toward sustainability, e.g. understanding material impacts and exposure to environmental risk is the starting point.

By WWF for Medium.

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Lights out, it’s “Earth Hour”- time

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Credit: Shutterstock

Every year, Earth Hour inspires millions across seven continents to participate in critical climate and conservation projects. Together, they show their support for projects led by WWF that drive climate policy, raise awareness and encourage to take action among individuals, businesses and governments.

What started as symbolic “lights-out-event” in Sydney over a decade ago, in 2007 to be precise, has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment with millions supporting and acting for our planet and nature. A moment has turned into a movement.

This year, on March 24, we want to invite you to join us and the millions of others to celebrate the diversity of life on our precious earth. Start a conversation with your friends and family about what YOU can do to protect our planet from the accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss that threaten our earth. Remember that every action, no matter how small or big, matters. Consider going beyond the one hour this year and commit to create positive impact every month, week, or even better every single day.

Be inspired and get some ideas for driving positive change in your everyday life. For example, start by

You can change the story to be told about our planet in the future – and let’s be honest, we all rather listen to something beautiful that we can continue to think and dream of when the lights are out.

If you are looking for creative and fun ways to celebrate Earth Hour, check out our tips we shared with you for Earth Hour 2017.

You can also watch the official Earth Hour video 2018 or head over to the official Earth Hour website for more ideas on how to get ready for Earth Hour this Saturday, March 24, 8:30pm.

TOGETHER, LET’S CONNECT TO EARTH

#Connect2Earth

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The organic garden at the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif., where herbs will be planted for guests who opt out of housekeeping. Credit: Bardessono Hotel & Spa

Promoting sustainability, properties are offering food and beverage credits and other perks for guests who forgo housekeeping services.

The question came at check-in: Did I want to forgo housekeeping for the two days I was staying at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in exchange for a $10 a day food and beverage credit?

Huh?

The clerk repeated himself. Some guests, he explained, didn’t want to be bothered during their stay — hangovers and all that. So last summer the Flamingo, along with nearly all of its sister properties in Vegas (it is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment), decided to give people the chance to decline having their rooms cleaned in exchange for a voucher.

Read the full article on eradicating housekeeping for a better environment, and for a better hotel’s bottom line here.

By Abby Ellin for The New York Times.

 

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Credit: Travindy

The UNWTO and UNDP recently issued an analysis of country and company reports on sustainability initiatives in tourism. Their report shows where the most activity has occurred and where opportunities lie for the industry to address the SDGs. There is a lot to unpack in this report, but I want to hone in on one concept: the role of small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

“…the private sector – particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which represent the bulk of the tourism sector – must be sensitized and given access to knowledge and capacity, including in new technologies that encourage investment in greener and more sustainable businesses…[SMEs] often lack awareness of how efforts and investment in sustainable business operations can also significantly boost competitiveness and profitability, while increasing customer and host community satisfaction” (p. 13).

Read the full article to find out more about reasons why many SMEs are not sustainable and possible solutions here.

By Aurora Dawn Reinke for Travindy.

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Image source: glasgowlive.co.uk

The move comes after a nationwide campaign by environmentalists to cut plastic water bottle use by tens of millions each year.

A popular west end restaurant has become one of the first businesses in Scotland to tap into the free water revolution.

Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen on Ashton Lane has signed up to a nationwide Water UK Refill App which allows passersby to fill their reusable water bottles in bars, shops and cafes at no cost.

Read the full article here.

By Magdalene Dalziel for Glasgowlive.co.uk

Read more about who else has been joining the new drinking water network here.

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