EMAS and Tourism: a successful combination this year!

EMAS supports accommodations in being more sustainable and visible

EMAS has been helping tourism organisations to improve their environmental performance since 1999. Because tourism accommodations have impacts in multiple different areas, they can particularly benefit from EMAS’s focus on improving all aspects of environmental management. Successes are noticeable, as demonstrated by the Jardin Hotel Tecina, Spain: “In 2015 we managed to reduce our carbon footprint by 87% compared to the year 2013, when we started with EMAS”.

This year, 2017, has been designated the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations. To emphasise the role of EMAS and EU Ecolabel in helping companies in the tourism industry improve their sustainability, the European Commission’s activities promoting sustainable tourism are multiplying in 2017.

The High Level Conference on Sustainable Tourism that will take place on the 8 of May 2017 in Valletta, Malta, will explore the opportunities and challenges of sustainable tourism, and bring together experts from politics and the tourism industry. The conference’s full programme and registration platform is available on the conference information and registration website. Key representatives of the tourism industry will give their insights on how to make the industry more sustainable, including speakers from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, AccorHotels, the sustainable booking portal Bookdifferent, and ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators. Check out our previous article for more detailed information on these and other speakers and their topics!

To highlight the important role of EMAS in promoting sustainability in tourism organisations throughout Europe, the EMAS Helpdesk has updated the EMAS Accommodation Infosheet for 2017. It now features 228 EMAS registered hotels, campgrounds and short stay accommodation in nine European countries and is available on the EMAS website. Don’t forget to encourage everyone you know to refer to the info sheet when looking for a sustainable place to go on vacation or to hold business meetings and events!

EMAS registered accommodations are also gaining more visibility on the internet. The website bookdifferent.com, which allows travellers to book hotels based on their carbon footprint and certifications, includes a feature to filter hotels based on their EMAS registration and locate them on an interactive map. Travellers can directly book the one that suits their needs best!

The EMAS Helpdesk is also focusing its efforts in raising the visibility of EMAS on dedicated tourism websites. If you manage such a website or know of one in your country that could include EMAS, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us: emashelpdesk@adelphi.de.

For EMAS organisations in the tourism industry looking to increase their sustainability and make use of the latest practices, the European Commission’s Joint Research Center is currently developing a toolbox on best environmental practices in Tourism. The toolbox will further support EMAS registered accommodations with concrete tools and tips.

Finally, an infosheet is available to help tourism organisations start with EMAS and other best examples are available on the EMAS performers webpage.

We encourage you to make use of these documents and attend the Sustainable Tourism Conference to help make 2017 truly a year of expansion for Sustainable Tourism!