March 7, 2023

WTTC announces next stage of Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative at ITB Berlin 2023

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shared the news at its ITB Berlin press conference on Monday

For Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, the Basics initiative will allow accommodation providers of all sizes to start their sustainability journey.

Basics, an industry-wide initiative, was first launched at WTTC’s Global Summit in Manilla last year. It provides hotels with a globally recognised list of criteria which they can implement to drive responsible and sustainable travel. The initiative starts by setting an achievable goal to ensure the relevancy of the programme. WTTC partnered with Green Key and SGS to develop a simple online verification system which requires hotels to provide evidence they are meeting the ‘Basics’ criteria. The scheme encourages hospitality businesses to begin their sustainability journey with 12 bare minimum criteria and redefine the non-negotiables of sustainability.

The verification scheme ensures hotels and other types of tourist accommodation are officially verified. During the first year, they are evaluated against 8 of the criteria with a commitment to meeting all 12 after 3 years. Together, these criteria are designed to ensure that the sector remains eco-resilient and adaptive to today’s environmental challenges. 

Speaking at the press conference, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “We are incredibly proud to have launched the verification scheme for Hotel Sustainability Basics. The initiative is a response to the sector’s need for a baseline for hotels and other tourist lodgings to start their sustainability journeys.”

“Our research shows that most business owners are aware of their responsibility to the environment but many sustainability practices such as efficient water use initiatives are patchy. Basics fills the gap by creating that level playing field for the sector,” she added.

WTTC carried out an extensive international benchmarking exercise through its Green Lodgings Trends Report, which polled 27,000 accommodation providers on how they are currently fairing against the 12 criteria. Crucially, this benchmarking exercise allows WTTC to track the progress of Basics over time.

Many international hotel groups and NTOs involved in Basics

Six major international hotel groups have now joined Basics as inaugural partners. The pioneering hotel groups include well-known brands such as Accor, Jin Jiang International, Louvre Hotels Group, Meliá Hotels International, Meininger, and Radisson Hotel Group. Tourism destinations have also recognised the strength of the Hotel Sustainability Basics. Azerbaijan was the first Destination Partner to support the Basics framework, followed by other supporters such as Belize, Colombia and Mauritius.

Finally, other leading industry figures have joined the WTTC initiative including representatives from Greenview, Expedia, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and, as well as certification bodies SGS and Green Key.