Sustainable Travel International

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Our History

As we celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2012, Sustainable Travel International remains committed to meeting the evolving needs of our industry. Nearly 1 billion people now travel every single year.  While the sustainable travel movement has grown significantly since our founding, there is ample work to be done. Although our programs have changed over time, our team continues to implement creative solutions that protect the environmental, economic and cultural assets which help make travel a life-changing experience for all of us.

Timeline of Accomplishments

  • 2014
    • February
      • The Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund raises $36,000 for projects throughout the state to improve the environment, support local culture and enrich the destination for future visitors
  • 2013
      • Worked with over 40 destinations, world-wide, conducting destination assessments, setting sustainability standards, and developing action plans and marketing strategies to conserve cultural and natural heritage, support adaptation to climate change, and maintain sense of place
      • 75 destinations completed our Destination Self-Assessment program
      • Supported over 160 tourism businesses in accomplishing sustainability reporting initiatives, business standards, implementation and monitoring, and eco-certification goals
      • Almost 15,000 tonnes of carbon were offset through Sustainable Travel International’s management, supporting projects that create carbon reduction and provide positive impacts for their surrounding communities
    • November
      • Launch of the Sustainable Destination Leadership Network, the first global initiative of it’s kind
      • United Cargo and Sustainable Travel International Release Innovative Cargo Emissions Calculator
    • October
      • Launch of Sustainable Travel International Canada office
    • September
      • Sustainable International celebrates it’s 10th anniversary in Washington D.C. with an event hosted by George Washington University
    • May
      • The Sustainable Travel Leadership Network launches TravelWell, a sustainability tool to help the travel industry to make informed decisions on investments in destination development
      • Sustainable Travel International CEO and Founder, Brian T. Mullis, appointed to National Travel and Tourism Advisory Board
    • April
      • Established new online training course for tourism professionals
    • March
      • Project launches to establish a sustainability monitoring system for Hosteling International USA’s hostels
  • 2012
      • Sustainable Travel International influenced approximately 5 million travelers to travel more sustainably, 5000 individual businesses to integrate sustainable business practices into their operations, and two dozen destinations to implement sustainability initiatives
    • July
      • Launch of Ethiopia Travel Philanthropy Fund
      • Launch of Voluntourism initiative with the US Forest Service
    • April
      • Development of global baseline sustainable tourism criteria and indicators for destinations through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council
    • February
      • Rapid Sustainable Destination Diagnostic launched in Cozumel in collaboration with the Mesoamerica Reef Tourism Initiative
    • January
      • Development of European Tourism Indicator System for Sustainable Management at a Destination Level through the European Union
      • STEP officially recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council
  • 2011
    • November
      • Project launches to engage women handicraft vendors in the tourism value chain in the South Pacific
    • October
      • Taiwan office established as a registered charity
      • Project launches to engage women handicraft vendors in the tourism value chain in the South Pacific
    • September
      • Launch Oregon Travelers’ Philanthropy Fund with Travel Oregon
    • May–November
      • Sustainable Travel International undertakes a global assessment of the Code of Conduct for the Project of Children from Sexual Exploitation in travel and tourism on behalf of UNICEF
    • March-December
      • Sustainable Tourism Risk Assessments in Cape Verde, Tunisia and Turkey in collaboration with TUI Travel and The Travel Foundation
    • March
      • 200 travel and tourism businesses enrolled in STEP
    • February
      • UK-Europe office established a registered charity
  • 2010
    • December
      • Sustainable Travel International has kept 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 10,714,780 gallons of gasoline consumed or carbon sequestered by 2,442,420 tree seedlings grown for 10 years
    • November
      • Great Green Travel Giveaway fundraiser
    • October
      • STEP Green Communities Program launches in Komodo National Park in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy
    • September
      • Development and implementation of a low carbon tourism program for Tourism Corporation
      • Sustainable Travel Leadership Network established
    • May
      • first STEP auditor and consultant training undertaken at Timberline Lodge & Ski Resort
    • April
      • Development of a marketing platform and interactive trip planning tool for Namibia’s Communal Conservancies in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund
  • 2009
    • December
      • Development of Sustainable Travel Education and Capacity Development for Travel Agents in collaboration with Virtuoso
    • October
      • Sustainable Shore Excursion Standard pilot launched in collaboration with the Cruise Lines International Association and Royal Caribbean Cruises
    • September
      • Launch of the Dogon Conservation Fund in Mali, with is among the first destination level travelers’ philanthropy initiatives
    • May
      • Luxury Eco Certification Standard, launched for the luxury accommodation sector launched
    • April
      • Development of carbon offset solution for United Airlines
    • March
      • Ride Local educational campaign launched to support local transportation
  • 2008
    • December
      • First edition of Best Practices in Travel Philanthropy manuals for accommodations and tour operators
    • August
      • The National Tour Association and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. become sustainability partners
    • May
      • Continental Airlines launches North America’s first airline Cargo Emissions Calculator
    • April
      • Completion ofthe travel industry’s first in-depth study on green travel in the U.S., Going Green: The Business Impact of Environmental Awareness on Travel , in collaboration with PhoCusWright and The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Foundation
    • March
      • Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative (RETI) features best practices in renewable energy for the tourism industry
    • January
      • Project management of the development of a Geotourism Mapguide for the Central Cascades
  • 2007
    • March
      • Collaboration with George Washington University on distance learning courses related to sustainable tourism
    • February
      • Greening of The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Travel & Tourism Summit
      • TravelGreen carbon management program for hoteliers launched
    • January
      • Recognized as  one of the top 10 global ‘best in class’ carbon offset programs [Consumer's Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers, Voluntary Offsets For Air-Travel Carbon Emissions]
  • 2006
    • December
      • STEP publicly launched as the second global sustainable tourism certification standard in the market
    • November
      • Custom carbon calculators offered to all sectors of the travel and tourism industry
    • October
      • Adventure Travel World Summit becomes the first travel and tourism industry event to attain carbon neutral status
    • May
      • First destination level sustainable tourism assessment in Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
    • April
      • Contracts Greening of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 8th Sustainable Tourism Development Conference, and invited as a featured speaker on the topic of destination level carbon management
      • Implementation of the Go East Initiative with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (first destination initiative)
    • March
      • Landmark 300 members from 67 countries around the world (March); First corporate donation of $2,000 from New Belgium Brewing Company Inc.
  • 2005
    • December
      • Green Gear & Gift Guide launched
    • April
      • Green Travel Market supply chain management program launched in collaboration with ECEAT
    • March
      • First carbon calculator for airlines launched in North America
    • January
      • Executive Education training launched centered on how to implement sustainable tourism best practices into existing operations
  • 2004
    • November
      • First carbon offset program targeting travelers launched
    • April
      • STEP pilot tested
    • March
      • Partners with the University of Colorado’s Center for Sustainable Tourism to expand education and training offerings
      • Guide to Sustainable Tourism launched, focusing on how to implement sustainable tourism measurement and management frameworks
  • 2003
    • November
      • Establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas
      • Global Sustainable Tourism Awareness Raising campaign targeting travelers
    • August
      • Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program (STEP) established as a global sustainable tourism certification standard in the market
  • 2002
    • November
      • Sustainable Travel International founded in the International Year of Ecotourism; membership program launched

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