Sustainability Standard Compilation for Global Tourism

In an industry first, a compilation of best practices to specifically address sustainability topics related to adventure activities has been released by Adventure Travel Trade Association and partners.

Travelife and its partners, including the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), have released 38 activity sustainability standards for the tour operator industry and adventure activities such as community-based tourism, wildlife watching tours, mountain biking, surfing and stand up paddleboarding, hiking, trekking and many more.

“The partnership with ATTA is a great step forward as of the global reach of ATTA’s network and the on the ground knowledge of ATTA members. ATTA community will be supported to be on the forefront of sustainability making them an attractive business partner for a growing number of sustainability committed tour operators,” said Naut Kusters, Head of Travelife for Tour Operators.

Whether summiting the highest mountain peak, visiting rural communities, or walking along pristine beaches to observe turtle nesting, there are a range of considerations for activity providers to keep in mind when planning and conducting tourism activities. The following codes of best practice have been compiled to ensure that the negative impacts that may result from activities on offer are minimized, while maximizing the benefits they can generate for the people and places in a destination, as well as the fulfillment enjoyed by activity participants.

The Activity Codes of Best Practice are intended to guide sustainability practices for tourism companies worldwide. They have been informed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) industry standards and the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) reference document for the travel sector. They have also been informed by relevant, existing codes of conduct, guidelines, tips, and criteria as well as a consultative process that received input from tour operators on all but one continent. As a result, guidance is formulated to consider and be relevant for as many contexts as possible.

“The codes of best practice is one more key step in making sustainability actions to be adopted by the tourism sector globally, it is a practical approach to make sustainability a reality in daily operations from a wide range of adventure and nature travel activities,” said Gustavo Timo, ATTA Product and Destination Development, Vice President.

Travelife and ATTA partnered to create this first stage of standards, now ATTA and its partners and Ambassadors will lead a review that will guide further refinements and nuances. This deep dive on standards will ensure they are clear to the industry actively implementing them and also allow us to share practical stories to enhance the actual practice and adoption.

As a reminder, earlier this year ATTA and Travelife announced a partnership which offers ATTA members free access to Travelife sustainability training and certification tools. This work was supported by the European Commission through the SUSTOUR Project as part of the COSME program to promote sustainability among the European travel sector in partnership with Travelife and The European Travel Agents and Tour Operator Associations (ECTAA), representing 30 national travel associations.

The Activity Codes of Best Practice can be viewed here.


About Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association is the largest global network of adventure travel leaders. Our community is made up of ~30,000 individual guides, tour operators, lodges, travel advisors, tourism boards, destination marketing and management organizations, outdoor educators, gear companies and travel media who share a belief and commitment to sustainable tourism. The connections and creativity of this vibrant community come together both virtually and in-person to create and deliver the solutions that propel our businesses and our communities toward a responsible and profitable future.

About Travelife

Founded in 2007, the Travelife Sustainability System is an initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable practices within the travel and tourism industry. The Travelife initiative is based on the central role of tour operators and travel agents in the tourism supply chain. Their unique position between suppliers and buyers enables them to influence consumer demand, procurement policies and the development  of destinations. This allows them to contribute significantly to sustainable development and environmental and cultural protection in destinations. Travelife aims to offer companies the knowledge, solutions  and tools to implement positive change within their businesses and their supply chain.


Photo: Mike Swigunski/Unsplash


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