The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has published the Food and Plastic Waste Reduction Standard for Tourism Businesses as part of its commitment to the European Union (EU)-funded TourLink project, under the EU SWITCH-ASIA Programme.
TourLink aims to drive Thai tour operators and suppliers, from hotels to transport companies and activity providers, towards sustainability. Under the project, PATA collaborates with members of the Thai-EU tourism supply chain to develop a series of capacity-building initiatives that promote best practices for sustainable tourism growth. PATA takes on a crucial role in developing new standards, toolkits and trainings that empower Thai tourism professionals to embrace sustainability in their operations as the industry recovers from COVID-19.
As PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera says, “PATA is focussed on supporting the industry recovery with tangible in-market projects that can demonstrate practical, responsible and sustainable solutions. Our goal is to develop and share business models that combine sustainability with profitability. Creating strong sustainability development plans brings businesses a competitive advantage in addressing a growing consumer interest and global need.”
A key component of TourLink involves achieving common standards for sustainability in the industry to transform Thailand into a leading sustainable tourism destination. According to TourLink Project Manager, Peter Richards, “Strengthening tourism and hospitality businesses’ sustainability will help the sector become more resilient in the face of future crises, save critical resources and boost overall morale as we prepare for a greener tourism reopening.”
Following the success of PATA’s BUFFET Toolkit and Plastic Free Toolkit for Tour Operators (which are also available in Thai), PATA recently published the Food and Plastic Waste Reduction Standard for Tourism Businesses. The standards act as a guide for all tourism businesses, professionals and communities to reduce food waste and plastic waste in their operations. According to Peter Richards, “The standards were developed through thorough research on food and plastic waste reduction strategies in tourism along with consultations with experts and partner organisations”.
As Fernanda Rodak, PATA Project Coordinator of Sustainability and Social Responsibility and lead author, adds, “The standards can be applied as a checklist, a step-by-step guide as well as a training tool for waste prevention in the tourism and hospitality sector”. Underpinned by the circular economy framework and the hierarchy of waste reduction strategies, the document encompasses best practices across the industry on sustainability management and tools and resources for practitioners to advance their food and plastic waste reduction efforts.