ITP has been working with global hotel companies to build sustainable growth across the industry for the past 25 years, and 2017 could be our biggest year yet.
This year we’re all going to become very familiar with the term ‘sustainable tourism’ because the United Nations has declared 2017 the year of International Sustainable Tourism for Development. United Nations Secretary-General, Banki-moon said, “With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable. As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.”
The ability of global hotel groups to effect positive change in communities all around the world was recognised 25 years ago by HRH the Prince of Wales when he announced at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro his partnership of global tourism industry companies called the International Hotel Environment Initiative.
A quarter of a century later and we now look a little different; as do some of our members, many of whom have stuck with us throughout our existence, but our râison d’etre has never changed, and that has always been to harness the power of global hotel companies and collaborate to make more good things happen more quickly in the realms of sustainable growth for the sector. An early summary of IHEI’s work described our purpose:
IHEI is a catalyst and a conduit for its members to pool their resources and to share their successes via a non-competitive platform. Its primary objectives are to:
- raise environmental awareness in the hotel industry
- develop hotel-specific environmental information, enabling hotels of all sizes to implement environmental programmes
- promote good practice internationally by working with hotel associations, governments, NGOs, and tourism bodies
- enable the hotel sector to position itself as a leader in sustainable development within the tourism industry; work with partners that can multiply IHEI’s reach and impact.
If you check out our timeline on our About Us page you can see how far we’ve come and the results we’ve achieved thanks to our members actively sharing their resources, and of course many of those resources have been developed into free tools to benefit the whole industry. Our carbon and water measurement initiatives are free to download here, and our manuals and Know How Guides are free via Green Hotelier.
We have some big plans for celebrating our milestone birthday in 2017, so keep watching our social media channels [Twitter], [Facebook], [LinkedIn] for news and updates, and if you have stories about sustainable development in hotels over the past 25 years, or you want to share best practice examples other hoteliers can benefit from do get in touch.