Abta is to contribute to a new worldwide effort by the tourism sector to combat the use of plastics.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has been introduced in an effort to stop plastic ending up as pollution and cut the amount of new plastic that needs to be produced.

The aim is to unite the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution by 2025.

Travel companies and destinations involved commit to eliminate unnecessary plastic items. They should also ensure all plastics needed are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted.

Backers include the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation.

It is designed to enable businesses, governments and other tourism stakeholders to take concerted action against the use of plastics.


More: Sustainable travel at forefront of Abta 2020 trends report

Industry must act on sustainability or be seen as ‘dirty’

Industry must ‘encourage customers to fly less’ to slow global warming


The UK travel association is contributing to the creation of the initiative and developing commitments outlining the expected contributions from the private sector, destinations, associations, and NGOs in the sector “to define concrete roadmaps for implementation of the initiative by 2025”.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organisations to make commitments by 2025, to:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items
  • Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives
  • Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used
  • Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics
  • Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.

Abta senior destinations and sustainability manager Clare Jenkinson said: “Sustainability has been on the agenda for many UK travel businesses for some time, and the industry is addressing environmental and social impacts of tourism.

“Managing plastic better is part of this and through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative travel companies will have the vital opportunity to report on their progress and collaborate with destinations and other industry players at a global level.

“Abta has been supporting its members to tackle plastic as part of a waste management approach through our Travelife for Accommodation hotel certification scheme, our guidance for travel companies on managing plastics and also Make Holidays Greener.”

Gerald Naber, New Plastics Economy Global Commitment programme manager, said: “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites more than 450 businesses, governments and others behind a clear vision of a circular economy for plastics.

“We welcome the launch of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by UNEP and UNWTO, which unites the tourism sector behind this vision for a world in which plastic never becomes waste or pollution.

“It will be a challenging journey, but through concerted action, we can eliminate the plastics we don’t need and innovate, so the plastics we do need can be safely and easily circulated – keeping them in the economy and out of the environment.”

Meanwhile, French hospitality giant Accor pledged to remove all single-use plastic items “in guest experience” by the end of 2022, with individual plastic bathroom amenities and cups to be eradicated by the end of this year.

Chairman and chief executive Sebastien Bazin said: “We are aware of the significant impact we have on our planet and our responsibility to create tangible benefits for our employees, guests, suppliers, partners and host communities.

“What guides us is the consciousness and social awareness that drives every person who strives to be a good citizen. It’s about being aware, socially conscious and consistent.”