Our natural environment is bearing the consequences of all our vacations. We’re talking years and years worth. Fortunately, there are businesses within the tourism industry who see the problem and have pledges to take proactive steps towards reducing travel’s environmental impact.
To promote sustainable tourism across the globe, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) aims to brings together all tourism businesses, organisations, and governments to commit to tackling tourism’s plastic pollution problem. The GTPI has welcomed 32 new signatories to the cause – including AC Hotels by Marriott and the Palladium Hotel Group amongst others.
However, the issue can’t be fully addressed if only a handful participate in the movement.
Much of the plastic used in tourism is single-use and often can’t be recycled. This has led to an additional 8 million tonnes of plastic pollution that ends up in the world’s oceans. Consequently, it’s responsible for the deaths of up to 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals, marine turtles, and countless fish. And with 80% of all tourism taking place in coastal areas, well, you do the math.
That said, plastic waste dumped in rivers from in-land or urban tourism also eventually winds up in the ocean.
COVID-19 has also caused a spike in the production of new plastics – especially for the tourism sector. Think packaging for disposable masks, gloves, sanitisers, and so on. Besides consuming more natural resources, there’s an increase in the release of greenhouse gases that in turn promotes global warming.
So, to put an end to the cycle, tourism players can play their part and make contributions through GTPI by continuously raising awareness amongst staff and guests to reduce plastic use. If you’re keen on supporting the initiative, apply here. Play your part and show you care for the environment. In the meantime, here are some simple and easy sustainable measures that vacationers can follow to be a part of the solution and help make travel more sustainable.