14 October 2019: The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel platforms, has officially joined as a member of GSTCs global network. Representing a wide range of tourism stakeholders, GSTC members are active drivers for sustainability in travel and tourism and contribute to the important work of the GSTC in promoting the widespread adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles.
Helping protect and preserve destinations around the globe so that travellers can continue to enjoy them for generations to come has been a priority for Booking.com for several years and is one of the key strategic focus areas for the company. Booking.com’s existing sustainability efforts include an employee volunteer initiative, now going into its sixth year, that supports destination improvement projects all over the world, as well as an accelerator programme and other funding initiatives that support a wide range of social enterprises and innovative projects in sustainable travel with grants and mentorship to help scale their impact.
As sustainable travel has become a much more relevant and pressing topic in recent years, Booking.com has also been publishing an annual sustainable travel report about the evolving preferences of consumers when it comes to sustainability considerations and their travel.
Booking.com’s 2019 Sustainable Travel Report revealed that global travelers prefer eco-friendly accommodation. According to the research, 70% of global travelers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not. However, when it comes to recognizing a sustainable place to stay, almost three quarters (72%) of global travelers say that they are not aware of the existence of eco-labels for vacation accommodations, while well over a third (37%) of affirm that an international standard for identifying eco-friendly accommodation would help encourage them to travel more sustainably, and 62% would feel better about staying in an accommodation if they knew it had an eco-label. (Read Booking.com’s full 2019 Sustainable travel report here.)
“We are excited to join the GSTC and to collaborate more intensively with their global initiatives to promote new standards for sustainable travel,” said Marianne Gybels, Global Manager of CSR and Sustainability at Booking.com. “We know that our customers want to make more sustainable decisions and that many of our accommodation partners and other service providers are eager to meet that demand. As such, we believe the timing is right for enhanced collaboration with GSTC. Together we believe we can help bring more clarity and transparency to the wider travel industry when it comes to sustainability and ultimately help safeguard the destinations we all love for the long-term.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Booking.com to GSTC” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, “and we look forward to collaborating on pathways for travelers to find and select more-sustainable products. Booking.com’s great reach in the marketplace makes their efforts important and much welcomed to promote travel that is more sustainable by more travelers.”
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council was created jointly by UN agencies and prominent international conservation NGOs to develop global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism - the GSTC Criteria. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certifications. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes). Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.