Tour operators establish international guidelines for sustainable tourism
In the framework of the Sustainability Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, tour operators have recently launched a sector supplement to advance environment friendly and socially responsible tourism.
The United Nations Environment Programme's Tour Operators'
Initiative (TOI), in partnership with the Global Reporting
Initiative (GRI), has recently published new performance indicators
to promote environment friendly tourism. The Tour Operators' Sector
Supplement to the GRI's Sustainability Guidelines was developed as
a multi-stakeholder effort aimed at improving the efficiency of the
Guidelines by identifying indicators specifically relevant to tour
By reporting on their actions, tour operators
hope to minimise the negative effects of tourism on local peoples.
Tearfund, one of the UK's leading relief and development agencies,
has recently published in a parallel effort, a CSR guide for the
travel industry, entitled "Improving Tour Operator Performance: The
Role of CSR and Reporting". The publication aims to address the bad
impacts of tourism, such as the pressure it puts on scarce local
resources, including land and water, pollution of the environment
and adverse effects on biodiversity. Tearfund argues that if tour
operators implement CSR practices, it will result in tangible
results to the local communities while consumers will be able to
make an informed choice and book with a responsible operator.
The GRI was launched in 1997 with the goal of
enhancing the quality and utility of sustainability reporting. The
GRI aims to enable companies and other organisations to prepare
comparable reports of their economic, environmental and social
performance. The GRI Board maintains a "learning by doing" approach
to its guidelines and encourages comments from all interested
parties to contribute to the next cycle of revisions.