Green Key at the launch of the Tourism 2030 Portal at the ITB 2018

As every year in March, the Berlin Messe hosted the international tourism fair ITB last week. Green Key was there to attend the launch of the Tourism 2030 Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Portal.

Herbert Hamele talking about 25 years of ECOTRANS

Herbert Hamele talking about 25 years of ECOTRANS

In 2018 the ECOTRANS Network for Sustainable Tourism Development is celebrating 25 years of European and global-level networking, policy-making and  project implementation to promote responsible and sustainable tourism. ECOTRANS invited Green Key to join their celebrations and the launch of their new portal at the ITB. 

The Tourism 2030 Portal is an independent website which brings together the global community of people and organisations working in sustainable tourism. Among other issues, it informs about certifications, standards and awards in sustainable tourism to help businesses and travellers to learn about and compare them. Green Key has been working with ECOTRANS for many years, especially in promoting awarded establishments on online travel agency platforms. Furthermore, Green Key participates in the TRIANGLE project, which is an European wide collaborative online system for Higher Education Institutes to offer quality tourism sustainability training. 

In addition to the launch of the Tourism 2030 Portal, several members of ECOTRANS discussed the implementation of sustainable tourism to meet the SDGs in 2030 and the Paris Agreement targets. With only three policy cycles left to achieve the Global Goals, the panelists pondered whether the SDGs will remain a "fairytale" or if there will be a "fairy tale ending". 

Halting the loss of biodiversity – how sustainable tourism can contribute to the millennium goal

ECOTRANS provides a set of recommendations which highlight in detail how responsible tourism companies, destinations and tour operators can make a difference on their standards concerning biodiversity and thereby boosting their contribution to the promotion of species diversity. Green Key welcomes this initiative.

The indicator report 2014 of the Federal Statistical Office on “Sustainable Development in Germany” reveals that the topic of species diversity lags far behind targets, with an increase in recreational activities e.g. along coastal regions, aggravating the threat to ecosystems. The tourism sector in Germany has a range of opportunities to mitigate such threats and to contribute to the strengthening of biodiversity in coastal regions and mountainous areas, in the countryside as well as in urban environments. In this regard, standards on biodiversity in the more than 20 national and international certificates and awards for environmental responsible and sustainable tourism in Germany could make a difference.

The initiatives on biodiversity could include:

- clearly defined actions with regards to biodiversity
- strive to cover all fundamental aspects of biodiversity with the criteria
- follow the no-net-loss target
- determine their impacts on biodiversity
- offer training on biodiversity for certifiers and certified establishments

International Green Key director Finn Bolding Thomsen welcomes this initiative: “We will have new Green Key hotel criteria taking effect by mid-2016 and we will seek to include some CSR and biodiversity related criteria, add specifications in the explanatory notes to the new criteria and share best practice examples also related to biodiversity issues”. 

“Some of these best practice examples like the Areias do Seixo with their nature based offer in the central Oeste region in Portugal, the Hoeve De Schapenkop with their biodiversity teaching of children or the Botel Ophoven with their regional and organic food purchase in the Flanders region in Belgium, and also several hotels in Morocco with their staff training and local community activities show how well the Green Key programme and biodiversity go together”, says Herbert Hamele, director of Ecotrans. “We are looking forward to include such best practice examples from Green Key in our global Atlas of Excellence and in our Travel Green Germany Map on as valuable information sources for the growing list of committed tour operators, booking platforms and marketing organisations.  

Download PDF (700 KB): Biodiversity criteria in Tourism: Recommendations for standards,certificates and awards