PATA provides leadership to the Asia Pacific visitor economy by coordinating and promoting environmental and economic sustainability, cultural preservation, and social responsibility. PATA engages in the following activities related to sustainability and social responsibility: 


"Footprints" refers to all impacts of the travel industry, and therefore covers issues that may appear in other guises, under umbrella terms such as "green," "responsible travel," "social responsibility," "sustainability," "energy demand," and so on. Integrating sustainable travel models that leave little or no footprint on our planet is a priority for PATA, and we encourage all of our members to reduce their carbon footprint and be cognizant of their activities that impact the surrounding environment. 


APEC/PATA Code for Sustainable Tourism

The Code for Sustainable Tourism has been adopted by both PATA and APEC as a reflection of their strong commitment to tourism growth across the Asia and Pacific region that is viable and sustainable over a long-term future.

This code urges PATA Association and Chapter members and APEC Member Economies to:


Conserve the natural environment, ecosystems and biodiversity


  • CONTRIBUTE to the conservation of any habitat of flora and fauna, affected by tourism
  • ENCOURAGE relevant authorities to identify areas worthy of conservation and to determine the level of development, if any, which would be compatible in or adjacent to those areas
  • INCLUDE enhancement and corrective actions at tourism sites to conserve wildlife and natural ecosystems.


Respect and support local traditions, cultures and communities


  • ENSURE that community attitudes, local customs and cultural values, and the role of women and children, are understood in the planning and implementation of all tourism related projects
  • PROVIDE opportunities for the wider community to take part in discussions on tourism planning issues where these affect the tourism industry and the community
  • ENCOURAGE relevant authorities to identify cultural heritage worthy of conservation and to determine the level of development if any which would be compatible in or adjacent to those areas
  • CONTRIBUTE to the identity and pride of local communities through providing quality tourism products and services sensitive to those communities.


Maintain environmental management systems


  • ENSURE that environmental assessment is an integral step in planning for a tourism project
  • ENCOURAGE regular environmental audits of practices throughout the tourism industry and to promote desirable changes to those practices
  • ESTABLISH detailed environmental policies and indicators, and/or guidelines for the various sectors of the tourism industry
  • INCORPORATE environmentally sensitive design and construction solutions in any building or landscaping for tourism purposes.


Conserve energy and reduce waste and pollutants


  • FOSTER environmentally responsible practices for:
    • Reducing pollutants and greenhouse gases
    • Conserving water and protecting water quality
    • Managing efficiently waste and energy
    • Controlling noise levels and
    • Promoting the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials


Encourage a tourism commitment to environments and cultures


  • ENCOURAGE those involved in tourism to comply with local, regional and national planning policies and to participate in the planning process
  • FOSTER, in both management and staff of all tourism projects and activities, an awareness of environmental and cultural values
  • ENCOURAGE all those who provide services to tourism enterprises to participate through environmentally and socially responsible actions
  • SUPPORT environmental and cultural awareness through tourism marketing.


Educate and inform others about local environments and cultures


  • SUPPORT the inclusion of environmental and cultural values in tourism education, training and planning
  • ENHANCE the appreciation and understanding by tourists of natural environments and cultural sensitivities through the provision of accurate information and appropriate interpretation
  • ENCOURAGE, and support research on the environmental and cultural impacts of tourism.


Cooperate with others to sustain environments and cultures


  • COOPERATE with other individuals and organisations to advance environmental improvements and sustainable development practices, including establishing indicators and monitoring
  • COMPLY with all international conventions and national, state and local laws which safeguard natural environments and cultural sensitivities.



The APEC/PATA Code for Sustainable Tourism was signed by the APEC Chairperson and the PATA Chairperson at the 50th PATA Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 



PATA Traveller's Code

Sustaining Indigenous Cultures

“Travel is a passage through other people’s lives and other people’s places.”



  1. Be flexible: Are you prepared to accept cultures and practices different from your own?
  2. Choose Responsibly: Have you elected to support businesses that clearly and actively address the cultural and environmental concerns of the locale you are visiting?
  3. Do Your Homework: Have you done any research about the people and places you plan to visit so you may avoid what may innocently offend them or harm their environment?
  4. Be Aware: Are you informed of the holidays, holy days, and general religious and social customs of the places you visit?
  5. Support Local Enterprise: Have you made a commitment to contribute to the local economy by using businesses that economically support the community you are visiting, eating in local restaurants and buying locally made artisan crafts as remembrances of your trip?
  6. Be Respectful and Observant: Are you willing to respect local laws that may include restrictions of your usage of or access to places and things that may harm or otherwise erode the environment or alter or run counter to the places you visit?



The PATA Traveller's Code was approved by the PATA Sustainable Tourism Committee at its April 13, 2002 meeting in New Delhi, India.



PATA and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

GSTC Logo SquarePATA endorses the work of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a non-profit organization unique in setting global standards and definitions for sustainability in travel and tourism. 


The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) serves as the international body for fostering increased knowledge and understanding of sustainable tourism practices, promoting the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles and building demand for sustainable travel.  This is accomplished through the work executed by its diverse programs:  international standardsettingdestinations,education and training, market access, and accreditation


The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are recognized and endorsed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), both of which are Permanent Members of the Board of Directors of the GSTC.



GSTC activities include:

  • Development and dissemination of criteria for sustainability:
  • Criteria for Hotels & Tour Operators developed in 2008
  • Criteria for Destinations developed in 2013
  • Recognition of certification bodies that follow GSTC criteria in their certification and ratings schemes for travel/tourism/hospitality companies and organization
  • Promotion and education of sustainability in travel and tourism


PATA joins the GSTC in recommending to all its members that they seek out GSTC-recognized certification and ratings schemes.  Currently, those that serve the Asia-Pacific region include:


Learn more about the Global Sustainable Tourism Council

Learn more about the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria



PATA and EarthCheck

PATA has teamed up with EarthCheck, the world’s leading environmental management, benchmarking and certification programme; developed for the travel and tourism industry. Earthcheck adheres to the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), the global mark for standards in sustainable travel and tourism.Through this partnership, EarthCheck has created an online Carbon Calculator for use by PATA members, which lets them estimate their carbon impact and then provides tips on how their emissions may be easily reduced.


EarthCheck has four individual products that each cater to the needs of different sectors of the industry. They are:


EarthCheck Certified, which helps organisations to reduce costs, managing risk and deliver reporting compliance.


EarthCheck Assessed, which is ideal for smaller operators who are looking to start the sustainability journey and wish to reduce their environmental impacts.


EarthCheck Design provides internationally recognised standards and guidelines that help local governments and developers in the early stages of planning precincts, buildings and the associated infrastructure, to do so with sustainable outcomes in mind.


EarthCheck Communities is used by communities around the world to achieve Best Practice sustainability outcomes in the areas of environment, social and economic benefits.


EarthCheck also offers programs that are suitable for schools and business clusters, as well as a range of accredited training courses that help with internal capacity building.





Take a look at the below carbon calculator to gauge how your business is doing and for tips on how to improve.