The Travalyst coalition, a global partnership founded by The Duke of Sussex together with brands Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa, today announced the development of draft sustainability frameworks to serve as a cross-channel guide for underscoring sustainability practices across the travel and tourism industry. The first three frameworks for accommodation, aviation and experiences are being developed building upon existing standards, with the goal of making them easier to understand for consumers and businesses, and implement and scale across the broadest possible range of travel service providers.
These frameworks will serve as the foundation for an eventual scoring system that will be recognisable to those booking holidays and trips across all platforms. The goal is to highlight travel providers with strong sustainability practices already in place and offer people an easy way to understand and identify more sustainable travel options that are kinder and less destructive to local communities, wildlife and the environment, but also highlight options that provide positive benefit. The implementation of these frameworks will also act as encouragement for further industry-wide adoption through ongoing outreach, feedback and improvement. These and all future efforts of the Travalyst coalition are being undertaken with strategic guidance from a newly appointed independent advisory group of leading sustainability and travel experts. The initial draft frameworks are being presented for feedback in a series of local industry roundtables and workshops in Scotland at the end of this month.
Building upon the many excellent and thorough standards, initiatives and frameworks already in existence for specific destinations and types of travel businesses, the ambition of the Travalyst frameworks is to bring these existing models together through a universal system that is applicable for all travel service providers in the industry. For the accommodation sustainability framework, being led by Booking.com, this means exploring ways of measuring sustainable practices that have the most impact. At the same time, the current aim of the draft accommodation framework is to embrace and recognize the success of existing schemes.
“We know from our research that 82 per cent of our accommodation partners are interested in collaborating with us on the topic of sustainability and that 87 per cent of global travellers think that it’s important to consider sustainable properties when travelling,” said Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com. “Despite this tremendous interest on both sides, the majority of consumers still don’t know where to start. Even though 70 per cent say that they’d be more likely to book a stay that was eco-friendly, we also see that 72 per cent of travellers aren’t even aware of the existence of eco-labels. This represents a huge opportunity for us to help a wider range of accommodation providers showcase their sustainability efforts and in turn make it easier for travelers to find and ultimately book their properties.”
For the aviation sustainability framework being developed by Skyscanner, the focus is on bringing more transparency around carbon emissions for individual flights, while also exploring ways to highlight the overall sustainability practices of individual airlines. For the vastly diverse experiences sector, including everything from massive theme parks to individual tour operators, together with Tripadvisor, the ambition is to customize and weight the sustainability criteria accordingly, while still providing a consistent framework for evaluation and eventual scoring.
These first three frameworks for accommodation, aviation and experiences are now going through the first stages of industry validation, including roundtables to collect feedback from key stakeholders. Pilot activity, including data collection and verification with travel service providers is set to begin over the coming months with the ambition to start testing how to present potential preliminary scoring to customers on the founding partners’ platforms later this year.
To provide the independent and critical analysis that is essential to ensure broad adoption and success of Travalyst initiatives and activities, the founding partners have established an advisory group to assess and guide the work of the coalition. Including experts from travel, technology, academia and sustainability, the advisory group is being led by Forum for the Future and chaired by their CEO, Sally Uren OBE.