Avani Hotels signs UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge

THAILAND: Avani Hotels, part of the global hospitality group Minor Hotels, has signed the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. 

THAILAND: Avani Hotels, part of the global hospitality group Minor Hotels, has signed the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. 

Launched in 2019, and in collaboration between UNESCO and Expedia Group, the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally and counts the EU Ecolabel and Green Tourism Accreditation among its members.

As a result of signing the pledge, every Avani hotel or resort must hold an independently audited Green Growth 2050 certification.

Avani has joined several global pledge campaigns such as Google’s Green Leaf Eco-certification, Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable Scheme, the upcoming GHA Green Collection and most recently the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge, in partnership with Expedia Group.

As part of Avani Hotels’ goal to become a Net Zero Carbon organisation by 2050 Avani has also introduced science-based targets for energy, carbon and water intensity, as well as pledging to cut organic waste to landfill in half in the next eight years. 

Avani has pledged to reduce the usage of single use plastic by 75 per cent by 2024 – that’s just over 12 months away – and every nature-based property will support long term habitat or species conservation by next year.

Avani has more than 30 properties to add to the list of signatories to the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge.

Manuel Melenchon, vice president of operations Asia for Minor Hotels. Said: At Avani, we uphold [the] belief that travel is a force for good and are committed to supporting sustainable tourism both on property and industry level. We are proud to be joining our sister brand Anantara and other global hospitality and travel players in developing a platform for the travel community to push for step change in climate action.”

Avani, along with sister brand Anantara, became the first major hotel brand to eradicate plastic straws at every single property in Asia. 

Avani is also looking at using recycled tree bark to turn into packaging for the hotel’s all-natural soaps and other toiletries.

In 2021, both Avani Palm View Dubai Hotel & Suites (pictured) and Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel were awarded the Green Growth 2050 certification for their sustainability practices. Avani Palm View Dubai received Green Growth’s Platinum certification in recognition of its water and energy conservation programmes; aluminium-can, glass and cooking oil recycling; tree planting; green public transport awareness campaign for guests; and more.

Avani Hotels is currently developing an app that will facilitate paperless check-in, check-out, and billing by prioritising digital payments and other paperless transactions.

Google recently added a filter which shows world recognised eco-certified hotels for its travel search engine.

Net zero hotels for York, Glasgow and Manchester

UK: room2, the net zero hotel brand by The Lamington Group, has announced plans to open three new hotels.

UK: room2, the net zero hotel brand by The Lamington Group, has announced plans to open three new hotels.

The “hometels” – a cross between a hotel and an apartment-style offering will be in York, Glasgow and Manchester. A Liverpool hotel will operate under a 25-year lease partnership with developers The Illiad Group.

room2 currently has three of its net zero concept – one in Southampton, and two in London – Hammersmith and Chiswick. The group recently announced it would also be opening in Belfast next year.

Robert Godwin, managing director at Lamington Group, said: “Lamington Group strives to push the boundaries of net zero in the hospitality industry. The opening of new net zero properties in York, Glasgow and Manchester is a realisation of the group’s vision to expand across the country and reach 5,000 keys by 2030. At the heart of each property remains our commitment to social values, community engagement and collaboration and the promotion of sustainable values to educate guests on the importance of the sustainability agenda.”

The group adheres to a zero emission construction and operating system. 

The room2 Liverpool will open next year on Duke St, in the heart of downtown Liverpool. The property will operate under a 25-year lease partnership with developers The Illiad Group. A new build, room2 Liverpool will offer eight floors of accommodation, a ground floor with lobby food and beverage offering, plus coworking space.

The 116-room York property will open in September 2024. The 134-bedroom Glasgow property in the city’s financial district will open in 2025. The Manchester property will feature 180 rooms over 22 floors and include one and two bedroom apartments. It will open in 2026. 

All properties will have restaurants, bars and gyms for guests as well as work and meeting spaces. Laundry rooms are available for those staying a little longer and there will be kitchens in most rooms. 

Lamington Group is an independent family-owned real estate investment and development company, which was founded in the 1960s and is based in West London. Led by managing director Robert Godwin, the group has made the commitment to only build and operate to whole life net zero standards for any new properties that started being developed after the launch of their net zero roadmap in September 2021.

The Lamington Group recently won the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Hospitality Award for Best Sustainable Hotel (independent).

Image: room2 York.

Travel management company CWT joins Global Sustainable Tourism Council

WORLDWIDE: CWT, a global travel management company, which helps companies manage their travel and accommodation needs, has become a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.


WORLDWIDE: CWT, a global travel management company, which helps companies manage their travel and accommodation needs, has become a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Randy Durband, chief executive officer of GSTC said: “GSTC is delighted that CWT joins the rapidly growing list of major brands that see the value in applying the GSTC Criteria, and our programs, as part of their commitment to enhance the sustainability of their extensive operations and supply chain.”

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), business travel spending worldwide has more than doubled since 2000 – and in 2019 peaked at roughly USD$1.28 trillion. However, as the GSTC says on its website “business travel also has a negative effect on our environment. Sustainable business travel is concerned with managing the costs, social impacts and environmental consequences generated by the use of different modes of business travel.”

Using the GSTC Criteria as a reference point, corporates and organisations can put in place systems to adopt sustainable working policies and practices.

CWT has a broad portfolio of responsible travel products, services and measures to help its clients reach their sustainability goals. In March CWt implemented carbon footprint indicators, and in June it launched enhanced CO2 emission reporting to underpin responsible travel programs for travel bookers to make green choices for corporate travellers.

CWT works with Thrust Carbon, to bring further enhancements to its responsible travel consulting and portfolio. 

Charlie Sullivan, VP product management at CWT said: “CWT has worked collaboratively with its customers and partners for over a decade to provide innovative sustainable corporate travel solutions and insights. We are thrilled to be part of the GSTC family, combining our efforts and influence to drive awareness and adoption of standards for sustainable travel”. 

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC®) manages the GSTC Criteria, the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acts as an international body providing assurance for sustainable tourism certification in three key subsectors of tourism: hotels/accommodations, tour operators/agencies, and destinations. 

Recently, Agoda, the digital travel and booking platform, teamed up with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to help create sustainable tourism practices for hotels.

Photo: Google Pexels

Scandic to open 100 per cent renewable energy hotel

NORWAY: Scandic Hotels, Norway’s largest hotel operator, has signed an agreement for a new 220-room hotel in Ski, just outside Oslo.

NORWAY: Scandic Hotels, Norway’s largest hotel operator, has signed an agreement for a new 220-room hotel in Ski, just outside Oslo.

The hotel will be part of Norway’s new environmental requirements and guidelines from Nordic Ecolabel

This means the hotel will have to use ecolabeled products and chemicals as well as 100 per cent renewable energy.

The hotel will reject any products using single-use disposables, and will be reducing its water consumption. 

There will be a “climate-friendly” menu and reduced food waste.

The rooms at the new hotel will be designed with the circular economy in mind and parts of the room interiors will be environmentally certified or made from recycled materials, most of which can be reused or recycled during renovations. 

The property will also be constructed according to a high environmental and technical standard with the goal to be certified according to BREEM Excellent, one of the highest levels in environmental certification for buildings.

Asle Prestegard, head of Scandic Hotels Norway said: “We are very happy to have had this opportunity to open a new Scandic hotel in Ski.  This agreement will strengthen our position in the region surrounding Oslo, which is undergoing rapid development, and at the same time create an exciting new meeting place for people who live and work in the city.”

The hotel is expected to be completed in 2026.

The hotel company recently opened Scandic Helsinki Hub in Finland which also adhered to the principles of sustainable development with many of the hotels original elements being preserved. The hotel achieved the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

Scandic is the largest Nordic hotel operator with more than 280 hotels in operation and under development in more than 130 destinations. The company currently operates 19 hotels with a total of 4,211 rooms in and around Oslo.

Japan offers sustainable travel brochure for visitors

JAPAN: The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has produced a new brochure featuring sustainable destinations, experiences and accommodation across the country.

JAPAN: The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has produced a new brochure featuring sustainable destinations, experiences and accommodation across the country.

The brochure, called “Explore Deeper: Sustainable Travel Experiences in Japan, can be downloaded or viewed on the website under the title Brochure.

Michiaki Yamada, JNTO’s executive director in New York said: “Japan’s travel industry is taking initiative to achieve United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At JNTO, our sustainability pledge focuses on three major pillars: the Environment, our Culture, and our Economy. With these three pillars, we hope not only to enrich and protect them, but also let them enhance travellers’ experiences in the country.” 

Japan and JNTO’s sustainability efforts also aim to protect local and indigenous cultures and support small businesses since the economic downturn. 

The new guide covers a range of sustainable travel options as well as sustainable hotels. All of them are eye-catching and offer varying degrees of sustainable practices.

  1. The Treeful Treehouse Resort offers eco-friendly accommodation with tree houses powered by natural energy production. 
  2. Bettei Senjuan has a Green Key certification and is located at the foothills of Mount Tanigawa. A member of Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel group, the hotel has private open-air baths for each room, fed by flowing natural hot spring water. 
  3. Another hotel option is Kuki, which is in the southwest of Hokkaido. The hotel is trying to reduce its carbon emissions and waste. Water is heated through a natural hot spring to keep rooms warm and the food is from local producers. Kitchen waste is turned into compost for farms.
  4. On the northern island of Hokkaido, Niseko Town was voted one of the world’s Top 100 Green Destinations in 2020 and 2021. This is where you will find Zaborin, which incorporates modern, eco-friendly design and building techniques. Its walls are made out of recycled offcuts and an on-site hot spring provides carbon-neutral, underfloor heating in winter, and the cold spring water cools the building during the summer. 
  5. Another hotel, a more urban option, is in Kyoto – the Good Nature Hotel, which is certified sustainable and follows sustainable practices. The hotel was awarded a Gold WELL Certification, which shows that the buildings were constructed to be environmentally friendly and beneficial to human health and wellness. It was the first time a hotel had received this certification.
  6. Visit Kamikatsu Town, Japan’s leading area for zero-waste and find HOTEL WHY, which was awarded sixth place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 awards. From the moment you check-in you learn about zero-waste and even join in with a recycling scheme. Local residents bring their waste to the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Centre, where waste is separated into 45 different categories and 80 per cent of materials used are recycled. This is where the hotel is found and inside it offers modern rooms with local recycled materials. 

To read the full brochure with all the JNTO’s sustainable ideas click here

Image from the JNTO brochure on the website.