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Addressing climate change is now a must for any sustainable tourism programme

Addressing climate change is now a must for any sustainable tourism programme

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new report that explores recent trends in sustainable tourism, as reflected by the finalists and winners of its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme. Analysis of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’ 156 finalists and 52 category winners over the past 13 years, identifies seven trends:

  • Addressing climate change is now a must for any credible sustainable tourism programme
  • There is an emerging prioritisation of sustainable tourism by urban destinations
  • More social enterprises are engaging in tourism activities
  • There is increasing recognition that people are critical for a sustainable future
  • Biodiversity conservation and protection are still top priorities
  • Standards continue to rise, backed up by measurement and monitoring
  • The parameters of sustainability are widening to include accessibility, consumer awareness and more technological innovation

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC said “For 13 years WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme has showcased the very best in sustainable tourism around the world.  This report shows how the landscape has evolved over this time, with standards getting higher, climate change now integral and a definition of sustainability broadening. Measurement, monitoring and reporting are now fundamental to sustainability best practice. This will become increasingly important as the sector aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The report also identifies what is needed for a step change in sustainable tourism impact, and calls for:

  1. More innovative initiatives being driven at scale.
  2. Projects that cross the different tourism industries, and use the expertise of those outside of Travel & Tourism to deal with issues that companies themselves cannot solve alone
  3. Sustainability that is an intrinsic part of a company’s modus operandi, not part of a separate philanthropic effort.
  4. Media engagement in and coverage of sustainable tourism issues and initiatives, to push for improvements, share success stories and promote best practice.

Scowsill continued “The designation by the United Nations of 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is a unique opportunity for our sector to highlight its economic and social benefits. We need to use this opportunity to ensure that we scale up, invest in and integrate sustainability across the board. I look forward to recognising the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award finalists and winners at our Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on 26-27 April.”

Applications can be submitted online via The deadline for 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards applications is 14 November 2016.

To see the full report, click here.

The 2017 Awards programme has five categories

  • Community Award – recognises organisations committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage
  • Destination Award – recognises destinations which show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices
  • Environment Award – recognises organisations achieving environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations
  • Innovation Award – recognises future solutions to current sustainability challenges faced by Travel & Tourism.
  • People Award – recognises organisations dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future

Finalists and winners receive complimentary flights and accommodation and will be recognised during an Awards ceremony which will take place as part of the WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on 26-27 April 2017. Finalists and winners get to meet the Travel & Tourism industry’s top Chief Executives, leading journalists, renowned experts and government officials attending the Summit.

More details on the Awards and the application process can be found at

Tourism for Tomorrow Award Partners:

  • Headline Sponsor of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards: AIG Travel Inc.
  • Category Sponsors: Amadeus, Ecolab, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Value Retail
  • Awards Supporters: Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA), BEST EN, Considerate Hoteliers, Ecotourism Japan, Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), Green Hotelier/International Tourism Partnership,  PATA, Rainforest Alliance,  The EUROPARC Federation, The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), The Long Run, Tony Charters and Associates, Travelife, Voyageons autrement
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