Business Resilience and Sustainability

Learn about PATA’s initiatives for increasing resilience and sustainability of tourism businesses

Support and resources for businesses

PATA is concerned with building resilience and increasing sustainability across the entire tourism industry – and one of tourism’s most crucial stakeholders are the businesses, specifically SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), which make up the majority of the private sector. These were also the most heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with informal workers.

For this reason, PATA extended the Tourism Destination Resilience programme to SMEs, to empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge to better prepare for future crises and adapt to post-COVID-19 tourism.

PATA also launched several tools and resources to improve businesses’ sustainability performance, especially when it comes to food and plastic waste reduction and management. Check out all these resources below.

Apart from the online modules, PATA also conducted in-person training for SMEs, which took place from July to September 2023 in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Tourism Destination Resilience for SMEs

Following the 10 online learning modules for destinations, PATA launched two new modules – this time focusing on tourism SMEs. The modules cover two key factors for businesses to increase adaptive capacity and become more resilient to challenges and potential crises. These topics are financial management and business digitalisation

The new modules, as with the existing TDR Course, are available to the public in six languages: English, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Khmer, Thai and Mandarin Chinese.

Supporting Partner for TDR Programme for Tourism SMEs

Waste Management: Food and Plastic Waste Reduction

Waste reduction and responsible waste management are crucial for minimising the impacts of businesses on the environment, reducing their carbon footprint and improving their overall sustainability performance. To support tourism enterprises in this task, PATA, with the support of our members and partners, has developed tools and resources to reduce and manage food and plastic waste.

Food waste

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (2019) estimates that one third of all food produced around the world – more precisely 1.3 billion tons – is either lost or goes to waste. This means that the resources – land, water, energy –, labour and capital used along the food production process are all lost as well – and in vain. Also, food waste in landfills generates greenhouse gas emissions, thus contributing to global warming and climate change.

Plastic waste

The amount of plastics we produce, consume and dispose of is unsustainable, and plastic pollution is one of today’s most pressing issues. Plastic pollution degrades the environment, kills wildlife, contaminates our food chain and damages our health. And single-use and disposable plastics represent the biggest problem. Every year, according to UNEP (2021), 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used, and every minute, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased around the globe. This leads to 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year.

Standards for Food and Plastic Waste Reduction

To assist tourism and hospitality businesses in reducing food and plastic waste in their operations, PATA has developed standards that cover all phases of food and plastic consumption: sourcing, usage and disposal.

For each of the three phases, there are a series of criteria and checkboxes on the needed actions for minimising food and plastic waste according to the type of business. Also, these criteria are followed by examples, case studies, tools and additional reading for digging deeper into food and plastic waste solutions

In both standards – food and plastic – PATA advocates that the greatest emphasis should be given to preventing waste. Even though the means to do so are different in each standard, the goal is the same: to divert waste from landfills as much as possible.

Download these other two resources

The BUFFET Toolkit: Building an Understanding For Food Excess in Tourism and the Plastic Free Toolkit for Tour Operators are other great resources for tourism businesses to start or continue their journey towards food and plastic waste reduction. They both provide step-by-step guidelines for reducing and managing waste responsibly. 

This toolkit addresses the many challenges and barriers to implementing food waste reduction practices in hospitality and food and beverage operations. It includes a series of useful online resources, such as videos, case studies and additional resources for readers to gain ideas on how to fight food waste.

This toolkit was created to assist private sector tour operators to tackle one of today’s most pressing environmental challenges: the use and management of single-use plastics. It provides a 7-step process for tour operators to implement successful plastic waste reduction strategies. It also includes case studies, tools and additional resources for continuous learning. 

Raising consumer awareness

If your business needs help raising awareness of tourists on topics such as food waste and plastic waste reduction, feel free to download and utilise our e-flyers below. They provide quick and helpful tips on how your guests can fight food waste and reduce their plastic footprint while travelling.

Food Waste Reduction E-flyer for Tourists

Plastic Waste Reduction E-flyer for Tourists

Online module on reducing single-use plastics

In 2022, PATA launched the online course Targeting Zero Plastics in Tourism Businesses, together with UNESCO and Expedia Group, to help build the capacity of tourism and hospitality businesses towards plastic waste reduction and community empowerment. 

The self-paced course is available open-sourced and it covers the following topics:

  1. What is the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge?
  2. What is the necessary process to implement a plastic waste reduction strategy?
  3. What are the concrete measures needed to reduce single-use plastics in my business?
  4. How can local knowledge and products help fight plastic waste?
  5. How can I continue my journey towards plastic waste reduction?

All these resources are also available in Thai

Access them here:

Check out our other initiatives

PATA also has initiatives for destinations, such as the Tourism Destination Resilience (TDR) Programme, and for communities, namely the Informal Workers Programme. Check these below:

For destinations

For communities

Learn How a PATA Membership Can Help You Achieve Your Organisational Goals

We help support the growth of our members’ businesses in both public and private sectors by expanding their networks regionally and globally, while strengthening the tourism industry through trade events, industry research, professional development programs, and targeted channels for brand exposure.