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WTTC Hotel Sustainability Basics Ends First Year on High

More than 1,300 hotels verified for the WTTC standard, with industry titans agreeing to a three-stage hotel sustainability initiative

By Todd R. Berger

12.14.23 Radisson Red Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Radisson Hotel Group adopts WTTC sustainability
The Radisson Red Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon. Radisson Hotel Group has adopted the WTTC Hotel Sustainability Basics standard. || Photo by Tada Images, courtesy of Adobe

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), based in London, U.K., is ending its first year of its Hotel Sustainability Basics standard on a high with more than 1,300 hotels across more than 30 countries from around the world verified. The Hotel Sustainability Basics is an independent global sustainability verification program, overseen by internationally recognized verifiers, Green Key and SGS. The aim is for hotels around the world, regardless of their size, to follow a 12-step program to reduce carbon emissions, protect and promote nature, and ensure local communities benefit from the hotel. The WTTC says It is achievable for all hotels to implement as a bare minimum, and crucially, they serve as a stepping-stone to more complex sustainability schemes.

“Basics is a global program to support hotels to cut emissions, support local communities, and protect nature, says Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Launched last year, it is the only independent scheme that gives hotels a helping hand to look at their environmental impact. The take up of Basics is going from strength to strength with whole countries committed to make real, lasting change.”

In its first year, Hotel Sustainability Basics has been endorsed by destinations around the world, such as the United States, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Colombia, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, Mexico, and Ecuador.

The Basics has also been adopted by a number of major hotel brands around the world such as Jin Jiang, the world’s second-biggest hotel group with more than 10,000 hotels, European hotel giant Louvre Hotel Group, and Radisson Hotel Group. Other major brands which have signed up Hotel Sustainability Basics include adventure travel specialist Intrepid, British Airways Holidays, HBX Group, WebBeds, Biosphere, and Abercrombie & Kent.

The Basics underscores a global commitment to sustainable travel and tourism from across the hospitality industry, and the global tourism body expects thousands more hotels from all four corners of the globe will adopt Hotel Sustainability Basics next year.

Significantly, the recently announced partnership between WTTC, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council has cemented a clear pathway in the hospitality sustainability journey. This collaboration will establish a structured framework from the Basics towards advanced global standards for hotel sustainability.

“Working closely together with our industry and value chain partners is paramount to British Airways Holidays,” says Satu Rouhiainen, sustainability manager for British Airways Holidays. “We are delighted to be supporting the Hotel Sustainability Basics, offering our hotel partners a fair and industry-recognized criteria to start their sustainability journey. Not only does it give us visibility of the hotels’ progress, but it also provides our customers a way to search for hotels that are committed to progressing in sustainability.”

World Travel & Tourism Council