The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Expedia Group and UNESCO have come together to pledge collaborative efforts in sustainable tourism development.
The UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge forms part of a renewed collaboration between Expedia Group and TAT, following an MoU sealed between the two organisations in September 2018 to promote secondary destinations in Thailand.
In this renewed MoU, the Expedia Group will support TAT’s strategic goals in attracting high-value travellers, promoting emerging destinations to first-time visitors and generating more demand during low season.
Initiatives include driving inbound and domestic tourism through sustained digital marketing campaigns; identifying and promoting new tourism opportunities in Thailand; leveraging industry experience, digital technology and big data to provide strategic advice on Thailand’s tourism vision and plans; promoting sustainable and responsible tourism in Thailand’s tourism sector; supporting the development of digital innovation and capabilities across Thailand’s tourism industry; and promoting traveller safety and security in Thailand.
The agreement also supports the Thai government’s leadership and commitment towards conserving the marine environment and addressing marine debris issues, in particular, plastic waste across the countries of the South-east Asia region.
TAT deputy governor for international marketing, Asia and South Pacific, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said that its collaboration with Expedia Group and UNESCO “will enable TAT to better incentivise business stakeholders and industry players to accelerate sustainable tourism development across the nation while supporting new travel experiences in emerging Thai destinations”.
He added: “TAT is committed to protecting the environment through its Thailand Reduce Waste initiative, which invites visitors and the tourism operators to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic that significantly creates waste in tourist destinations. It also promotes the use of organic materials that help save the earth and add value to local resources.”
Under the pledge, all parties are committed to supporting the reduction and elimination of single-use plastic while also promoting local culture and activities in Thailand.
Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for culture, said: “The Sustainable Tourism Pledge aims to turn words into action. This partnership with Expedia Group and the pilot initiative with Thai tourism is about taking those steps to minimise waste in the tourism sector and to promote the role of culture for sustainable development. This is good for the planet, for communities and could be the start of something global.”