International tourism, more accessible and affordable than ever before, has expanded to become one of the world's largest industries, generating billions of dollars and millions of jobs globally. Despite clear economic benefits from the current scale and scope of international tourism, the improper management of tourism development is overwhelming many destinations and posing a serious threat to vulnerable cultures and fragile ecosystems in high biodiversity areas.
Engaging outbound tour operators: As bulk purchasers of travel products and services, global outbound tour operators manage a significant portion of tourist traffic to destinations in the world's biodiversity hotspots. Through the Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Development (TOI), we are working with over 20 of the world's leading tour operators to create environmental guidelines for their supply chains – hotels, resorts and tourist attractions – in the hotspots and to reduce the harmful impacts of tourism on biodiversity.
Engaging in-bound (local) tour operators: In-bound tour operators – companies that run and put together trips on the ground, including day excursions, dive centers, ground transport providers and incoming agents – can significantly influence how tourist activities impact a destination.
Published and distributed A Practical Guide to Good Practice: Managing Environmental Issues In the Marine Recreation Sector (pdf) and a Complementary Self-Assessment Checklist (pdf): In partnership with CORAL and the TOI, we created this user-friendly guide to offer a summary of potential impacts caused by marine recreation, practical suggestions on how to reduce these impacts and the rationale for good environmental practices.
A self-assessment checklist is included in this booklet to help marine recreation providers assess where their company stands in integrating responsible environmental practices into their operations. Marine recreation providers can use these materials to understand and adopt good environmental practices. Similarly, hoteliers, tour operators and cruise lines can use this guide to select and manage suppliers based on sustainability criteria.
Created a supply chain management tool as part of the Responsible Marine Tourism Initiative: In partnership with TOI and the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), we have developed a Supply Chain Management Tool to provide a central reference on good environmental and social practices for marine recreation providers, which the corporate community can use during purchaser-supplier business processes.
Published and distributed A Practical Guide to Good Practice: Managing Environmental and Social Issues in the Accommodations Sector (pdf) (James E. N. Sweeting and Amy Rosenfeld Sweeting, 2003): In partnership with the TOI, we created this user-friendly handbook to provide an overview of ten key environmental and social issues that are critical to the long-term success of the accommodations sector. The TOI partners have distributed more than 30,000 copies of the handbook to hotels, primarily within the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
Global Reporting Initiative sector-specific guidelines developed for Tour Operators: We participated in a TOI-led multi-stakeholder process to develop sustainability reporting guidelines for the tour operator sector.
Supported a workshop for tour operators: We supported a two-day workshop in Rimini, Italy, focusing on how TOI members could implement the TOI Statement of Commitment and Rimini Report.
Partnering to improve tour operators' behavior in Galápagos National Park: As part of an agreement with Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of the Environment, we will assist CI Ecuador and The Ecuadorian Ecotourism Association in establishing minimum standards and operating procedures for tour operators and contribute to improved management of the 211 million hectare Galapagos-Cocos Seascape Corridor.