Sustainable Tourism Initiatives in the UK

The UK Sustainable Tourism Initiative (STI) was launched in March 2001 and is part of the UK's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) this year

It recognises the important role tourism can play in supporting sustainable development globally, and the UK's responsibility to minimise any negative impacts of tourism abroad.

The objective of the UK STI is to provide a forum where stakeholders from industry, government and NGOs can work together to create a step-change in sustainable tourism practices by the UK outbound tourism industry, and build the foundation for an ongoing process of continual improvement and engagement.

A detailed action plan of ongoing work in sustainable tourism will be published in June and a wide range of stakeholders from government, industry and NGOs are expected to commit to implementing the action plan.

This has been prepared through a series of working groups that have met at regular intervals to analyse challenges and make recommendations. It is expected to include the following elements:

  • the establishment of a new organisation tasked with continuing the work started by the STI on a permanent basis
  • a pilot process to set up destination-based working groups, in both developing and developed country destinations, aimed at enabling UK and destination stakeholders to work together to implement sustainable tourism practice
  • a public awareness-raising campaign based around the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 'Know Before You Go' website
  • a strategy to help UK Tour Operators to adopt 'preferred codes of practice' for sustainable tourism, on issues such as supply chain management and reporting.

In addition to looking at environmental issues, the STI is also focusing on socio-economic issues, such as enabling local businesses and communities to profit more from tourism. This fits with the wider agenda for WSSD, which has a strong focus on tackling world poverty. The International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) is participating in two of the working groups with a view to assisting hotels around the world who do business with UK outbound operators to run their operations more sustainably and to be models of good practice.

For Further Information Contact:
Royal Institute of International Affairs
www.chathamhouse.org

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