AHT was awarded a prize by the World Tourism Organization
Asociación de Hoteles de Turismo de la República Argentina (AHTRA) won the WTO Ulises Award to Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations for its Sustainable Hotel Industry Ecolabelling Program.
The Sustainable Hotel Industry Ecolabelling Program developed and led by AHT won the second place of Tourism Excellence and Innovation in the Non-Governmental Organizations Innovation category of the Ulises Awards of the World Tourism Organization, which recognize the initiatives managed by a non-governmental organization, which are inspiring and which, to attain their achievements, use innovation, association, governance and the participation of the civil society as key elements.
The award highlights the highly innovative tourist projects in the tourist politics, governmental, environmental, socioeconomic and new technologies areas.
In this regard, AHT, as a non-profit organization that groups high-scale hotels in Argentina identified with the quality and excellence in their management and, in line with its mission and vision, in the care and respect for the environment protection, seeks with this project to continue and reinforce the actions taken in its Sustainable Hotel Industry Program, which encourages hotel organizations to manage with sustainability criteria the introduction of ecoefficient hotel technologies, good practices, the development and enhancement of services and products that reduce the environmental impact of the activity in any of its levels and the performance of studies that make it easier to move forward towards the sustainability of the hotel industry.
Under these premises, in 2011, AHT set “Hoteles más Verdes” Program as one of its priority goals, which was implemented after an awareness and self-assessment stage of its member hotels and the launch of a Handbook of Good Practices (Keys for an Eco Responsible and Eco Efficient Management). A year later, the Program was expanded to the community through the “National Contest seeking the Best Sustainable Hotel Project in Argentina: Hoteles más Verdes”, aimed at recognizing and rewarding the best applied innovation projects to the integration of sustainability principles in the value chain of hotels in the country. The Contest not only is set out to recognize the initiatives derived from hotel organizations, but also it is open to universities, research centers, associations, foundations, providers of goods and/or services for the hotel sector, providers of developed sustainability instruments and private parties related to o with track record within the hotel sector.
The Ecolabelling Protocol, which was presented by AHT in the 2012 Edition of Hotelga, arises as a necessary result in the sustainable hotel management process. It is a voluntary and third-party certification multiple-criteria based program that awards labels to those environmentally preferable products and services to other similar ones within the same category and based on life cycle considerations.
Given the absence of a nationwide voluntary standard or ecolabel in Argentina, as compared to the increasing number of global sustainable tourism certification programs, AHT was determined to establish a national ecolabelling system, based on a protocol that sets ecological and sustainable management criteria at different levels, as a model to recognize and certify the sustainable hotel industry.
This protocol has been designed according to Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria established by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for hotels and tour operators to apply for their international accreditation and recognition.
WTO Ulises Awards are given to initiatives and projects undertaken by public tourism institutions, tourist companies and non-profit organizations that have made an important contribution to the progress of tourism through innovation and in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.