China’s Sustainable Travel Alliance
On September 4th 2020, WWF has launched the Sustainable Travel Alliance together with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Trip.com, CAISSA Tourism, Vinetree Tourism, China Standard Conformity Assessment, and other leading players in the travel and tourism industry.
Travelling can expose people to amazing natural and human phenomena around the world; from massive animal migrations across African savannas, to colourful coral reefs in the Pacific, to temples in Southeast Asia. However, unsustainable tourism and the consumption patterns of travellers are irreversibly damaging some of the world’s key eco-systems necessary for biodiversity and human survival. Habitat destruction, illegal poaching driven by the wildlife trade, and unsustainable exploitation and consumption of our natural resources are threatening global biodiversity. Millions of species are now endangered and are at risk of going extinct in the next 10 years. WWF estimates that about 20,000 African elephants are poached every year for their ivory; nearly 10,000 African rhinos have been poached over the last 10 years; wild tiger populations have declined by 97% over the past 100 years, leaving only 3,900 individuals; and more than half a million pangolins were trafficked globally between 2016 and 2019. Meanwhile, over one-third of plastic waste is estimated to have entered nature as land, freshwater or marine pollution, and one-third of global food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year while over 820 million people remain hungry. “Wild animals who do not have a concept of national borders and do not carry passports don’t belong to any one country but are part of the rich natural heritage of the world,” said Zhou Fei, Chief Program Officer of WWF-China. “It is our hope that the collective and strong message sent by the Sustainable Travel Alliance will lead to a public refusal to engage in wildlife consumption or use products made from endangered species. The Alliance can help us communicate the importance of wildlife protection, reducing disposable plastic use, and cutting food waste.” “All sectors must operate more sustainably to mitigate the harmful elements of global population growth, but tourism needs especially to operate more sustainably due to its diverse and substantial environmental and social impacts,” says Randy Durband, CEO of the GSTC. The Sustainable Travel Alliance will keep engaging more companies in the travel and tourism industry to practice corporate social responsibility, and help them realize that sustainable tourism is not only compatible with the growth of the industry, but necessary for its continued survival. The Alliance will help influence industry partners and travelers, educating them about wildlife protection, and food waste and plastic pollution reduction. Only by taking both tourism and environment conservation into consideration at the same time can the travel industry benefit social and cultural development and sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature.
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