Tunis/Tunisia — The British Embassy in Tunisia announced the signing of a UK/Tunisia Sustainable Tourism Charter launched in Hammamet.
The Charter has been developed in partnership with the Municipality of Hammamet, the Ministry of Tourism, Travel Advice & Holiday Information (ABTA), TUI Travel, the National Waste Management Agency (ANGED) and the Federation of Tunisian Hoteliers.
It was signed on Tuesday in Hammamet by British Ambassador Louise de Sousa, Minister of Tourism Rene Trabelsi and Clare Jenkinson, Senior Manager for Destinations and Sustainability for ABTA, the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office reported.
The Charter should lead to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly tourism industry in Tunisia, responding to the increasing priority that British and other foreign tourists are placing on the environment when making their holiday choices.
According to WWF, nearly 600,000 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every year costing the Tunisian economy $20million due to the impact on tourism, fishing and navigation. Goals set by the Charter are intended to help address this issue.
The Charter will deliver concrete results including the discontinuation of disposable plastic cups and cutlery in hotels by March 2020 and the ending of plastic drinking straws by December 2019.
It also provides more responsible disposal and recycling of waste with tour operators encouraging hotels to attain a Global Sustainable Tourism certificate by December 2020 and the production of a work plan for the Hammamet Municipal Council and central government by March 2020.
The charter also supports the local economy with more opportunities for local and regional artisans to sell goods to guests as well as strengthen promotion of local food in hotel restaurants by March 2020.
Speaking following the signing, UK Ambassador to Tunisia Louise de Sousa, said: "I am pleased to launch this project and hope it will be rolled out to other areas of Tunisia, helping preserve the beauty of this country.
This will not only appeal to British tourists but also provide economic benefits for Tunisian businesses. The reduction of plastic waste is a crucial element of the UK government's work to protect the world's oceans and ensure we leave a cleaner planet to the next generation."
In turn, Senior Destinations & Sustainability Manager for ABTA Clare Jenkinson indicated that: "ABTA is well placed to work with its Members, national and local governments to share best practice in sustainable destination management.
This charter to improve waste management, reduce single use plastics and support the local economy in Tunisian tourist destinations is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together and setting commitments."
For his part, President of the Federation of Tunisian Hotels Khaled Fakhfakh, said that:"The Federation of Tunisian hotels is delighted to support this important initiative.
Tunisia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, deserts and mountains in the Mediterranean. This charter will allow us to meet our determination to protect and promote this natural beauty for generations to come."