U.S. Travel Association Establishes Sustainable Travel Coalition

Tori Emerson Barnes

With aims to align the travel, transportation and technology sections of the U.S. travel industry, the U.S. Travel Association announced the launch of its Sustainable Travel Coalition, which has goals to develop and advance travel strategies to enable a more sustainable future.

The Sustainable Travel Coalition, comprised of nearly 60 member organizations, will serve as an advisory body, informing the U.S. Travel Association on sustainability issues, opportunities and concerns within member organizations and destinations. 

“My bottom line is that if this initiative moves sustainability along in the travel industry, it's very necessary right now,” said Nancy Zavada, president of leading sustainable meetings company MeetGreen, in reaction to the news. “As sustainable travel is a complex issue, it will be interesting to see how they address the full spectrum. There are no quick fixes.”

The coalition has highlighted five long-term sustainability goals:

  • Spotlight industry progress by showcasing innovative technologies and calling attention to the ongoing actions and leadership of travel professionals in the sustainability space.
  • Amplify industry goals and commitments to conservation, best practices, waste and emission reductions and both long- and short-term investments.
  • Highlight why sustainability matters and the importance of it as a core to travel's future.
  • Play offense by identifying and promoting proactive policies to help the industry achieve its goals.
  • Defend against harmful policies that slow progress toward sustainability goals or penalize the industry without progress.

[Related: Chicago Hotel Implements Sustainability Initiatives to Help Keep the City Green]

Seeing the world and saving the world should not be mutually exclusive,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “As technology advances and consumers demand more sustainable travel options, the work of this coalition will ensure that the U.S. travel industry can meet the needs of an evolving market while also protecting our planet’s natural resources.”\

Zavada shared similar goals and motives. 

“I do wish the event industry and the travel industry would collaborate on a mission we could all get behind,” she said. “There are so many different groups now, it's tough for companies and individuals to know who to join.”

The coalition also includes a Policy Committee, which it stated was formed to ensure progress and collaboration continuously.