Every year, more than eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. The tourism sector also contributes to this. Think of bottles, straws and bags used by tourists. Research has shown that hotel room visitors generate much more plastic waste than a normal household in the same region.
The signatories of the International Tourism Plastic Pledge recognise the urgency and the need to work together to reduce plastic pollution. Together they represent around 180,000 employees and 50 million holidaymakers. In the coming months, a plan will be developed to reduce the use of plastics and to prevent plastic pollution at destinations. This will be a collaboration with the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Maria van der Heijden, managing director of MVO Nederland, says: “Tourism is one of the largest sectors in the world. As a result, the sector bears a great deal of responsibility and has the potential to make a difference. We are very proud to bring together these 100 companies in the tourism sector to sign this pledge. Together, these companies can make a difference in the transition to a circular economy.”
Melvin Mak, Manager of Sustainability at TUI and one of the signatories of the Tourism Plastic Pledge: “Plastic pollution is a major challenge, both for the attractiveness of the destinations and for the environment. TUI Group has already implemented significant plastic reductions, but we are convinced that by joining forces we can scale up faster. It is excellent that MVO Nederland has managed to persuade so many companies to sign the International Tourism Plastic Pledge.”
Jo Hendrickx from Travel Without Plastic: “There are so many things a hotel can do. The important thing is to feel comfortable about taking one step at a time. Don’t put off implementing a straw policy because you think it isn’t innovative. An average all-inclusive hotel can easily consume over 300,000 straws every year and a straw policy can reduce this by over 90%. If every hotel in the world did this today it would not only be a significant reduction in waste but a huge step forward in changing customer expectations.”
Check the complete list of signatories of the International Tourism Plastic Pledge here. Other companies from the tourism sector are welcome to participate. To sign the Tourism Plastic Pledge, go to www.tourismplasticpledge.com.
(To know more about the collaboration with the UNWTO, UN Environment and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, check the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.)