BANGKOK- The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Travelife and The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) have united to promote sustainability among tour operators and travel agents in Asia Pacific.
Following the signing of the three-party Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 18, 2014 in Zhuhai, China, PATA members will have access to the Travelife sustainability training and management tools so that they can integrate socially and environmentally responsible practices into company operations.
Travelife is a comprehensive programme initiated by European travel associations to help travel companies and their suppliers achieve sustainability through training, management, reporting and external recognition and certification.
PATA wishes to support its members in implementing socially and environmentally responsible business practices. The Association unites more than 700 leading travel companies in the Asia Pacific region and has national chapters in most Asia Pacific countries and key source markets.
PATA CEO Martin Craigs said: “PATA forecasts that international visitor arrivals in Asia will grow at 6.3% per year up to 2018. With Travelife internal procedures in place, tour operators and travel agents will be able to combine growth with sustainable, measurable practices.”
CBI, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, encourages imports from developing countries by enhancing the capacity of individual companies and business support organisations. In the frame of its Sustainable Tourism Development Programme Asia 2013-2017, supporting the sustainable growth of tourism is a key CBI objective. CBI will facilitate PATA in its sustainability objectives through training and capacity building.
On signing the MoU, Ester Kruk, CBI Senior Programme Manager Asia, said: “Compliance with international CSR standards will increasingly become a condition of international business engagement. Companies complying with measurable sustainable standards will obtain better market access, especially to European markets.”
Naut Kusters, Manager for Travelife for Tour operators, said: “The support of PATA and CBI for Travelife is a historic step towards a sustainable travel industry. It will spread global CSR and sustainability standards and best practices amongst Asian tour operators. It will provide direction to committed tour operators and recognition for front runners.”