The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria Partnership, a coalition of 27 organization, issued criteria for sustainable tourism at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona.
The guidelines focus on four areas: maximizing tourism’s social and economic benefits to local communities; reducing negative impacts on cultural heritage; reducing harm to local environments; and planning for sustainability.
The partnership was initiated by the U.N. Foundation and includes the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Society of Travel Agents, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, Conde Nast Traveler, Expedia, and Hyatt Hotels among others.
Sustainability experts developed the guidelines over the past 15 months, performing a review of more than 60 sets of criteria already being implemented around the globe.
In related news, Meeting Strategies Worldwide launched “Best Places to MeetGreen,” a Web-based tool that helps meeting and event planners to select the best green destination for the group.
The Web site provides two resources, the Best Place to MeetGreen Scorecard and a Calculator.
The Scorecard feature ranks cities according to the green programs implemented by convention and visitor’s bureaus, convention centers and hotels.
The Calculator feature allows visitors to evaluate which potential destinations have lower estimated emissions
A 2007 survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and KDS revealed that only one-third of corporate travel policies promote sustainable tourism. While many travelers said they would prefer a green hotel, other factors such as price win out when they’re booking.