BANGKOK, 8 June 2017: The Pacific Asia Travel Association is reasserting its commitment to sustainable development across the entire spectrum of travel and tourism with a renewed pledge to support the Paris Accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Embedded within this PATA advocacy theme is an acknowledgement and recognition that tourism must play an influential role in preserving the planet’s natural resources by adopting effective, sustainable practices.
“Our members, both public and private sector, are leading by example. They recognise that responsible business practices must embrace practical measures to offset the potentially irreversible damage to our planet caused by climate change,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy.
Hardy has welcomed the responses and statement of leading business figures such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla Inc. co-founder Elon Musk as well as the governors of several US states that, together, have also reaffirmed their commitment to combating climate change.
“Now is the time to reinforce our determination for the principles and objectives of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
“This agreement has now been ratified by 147 nations and territories. We encourage more nations to sign and to support practically the efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” added Hardy.
PATA’s challenge is to be seen doing its part of reduce the impact on climate change as governments are a core membership category.
The US is now a member of PATA since the government funded Brand USA after years of non-funding and a total absence from the international travel association scene.
“The decision of the US government to withdraw from the Paris Accord is highly regrettable but it will not deter us from campaigning vigorously for effective measures to preserve and protect our world. This is an opportunity for tourism to lead by example…PATA will continue to advocate responsible tourism development that benefits, rather than destroys, our communities.”
However, PATA needs to do much more to encourage it members to adopt sustainable principles and lower the travel industry’s carbon footprint. Airlines lag behind in the move to alternative fuel and losing out to other forms of transport.
Also, as a token of good will in the wider context of climate change, PATA should move all its meetings into clean space by cutting wasteful practices at events, reducing the paper trail and perhaps its calendar of events replacing them with virtual meetings and webcasts.
PATA will argue it needs events to balance its books. But like so many associations it will also have to make sacrifices if its pledge on climate change is to have meaning.
It could start by asking tourism ministers in member countries to embark on region-wide campaign to ensure visitors take home their rubbish when visiting beaches and national parks. A leave nothing behind but your footprint policy would be a suitable goal for PATA member countries to aspire to in order to reduce plastic rubbish that overwhelms the waste management capabilities of local communities near tourist attractions. Banning the plastic bottle and bag at PATA member country national parks would be a good start.
(Source: PATA, additional reporting)