Major travel and technology companies have agreed a set of criteria for sustainability certification in the accommodation sector.
The Travalyst coalition which includes Amadeus, Booking.com, the Expedia Group, Google, Skyscanner, Travelport, Trip.com, Tripadvisor and Visa has agreed the criteria for the display of certification on booking platforms.
Travalyst notes there are more than 100 certification bodies worldwide which focus on travel and tourism sustainability, although not all are accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) set up by the UN to develop and oversee sustainability standards.
By adopting the criteria, the group aims to drive consistency in the display of sustainability certification across platforms and drive greater awareness of sustainability in mainstream travel.
The three core criteria agreed by coalition members and validated by the Travalyst Independent Advisory Group are that:
- The certification process includes a third-party audit which includes on-site and/or online assessment of practices reported by the property.
- The standard upon which the certification is based is publicly available.
- The standard focuses on evaluating the impact of social and/or economic, and/or environmental factors as encompassed in, but not restricted, to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Travalyst head of strategy and impact Polly Lomas said: “Travalyst aims to bring sustainability information to the mainstream to help people make better travel choices.
“People want to travel more sustainably and that starts with having access to clear, consistent and credible information at scale.”
She argued: “Creating a master list of certification bodies meeting the Travalyst criteria will help to improve the credibility of sustainability information in the accommodation sector, and credibility is key to driving trust.”
Travalyst was established as a not-for-profit coalition in 2019 by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.
The Travalyst Independent Advisory Group is chaired by Diana Walker, partner at the Brunswick Group corporate consultancy and comprises Dr Susanne Becken, professor of sustainable tourism at Griffith University, Australia; Marten Dresen, founder and chief executive of the Good Hotel Group; Dr Xavier Font, professor of sustainability marketing at the University of Surrey; Professor Paul Peeters, professor of sustainable transport and tourism at Breda University of Applied Sciences; Jeremy Smith, co-founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency; and Dr Anna Spenceley, consultant on sustainable and regenerative tourism.