PATA’s Sustainability Initiatives in 2023


It has been an eventful year for PATA's sustainability initiatives. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability has never been more relevant for businesses, communities and destinations than now. Rebuilding, resilience, and empowerment are three keywords that the Association’s sustainability initiatives have been focused on this year. From finance and digital skills workshops to the food and plastic waste reduction awards, the goal has been to give tourism stakeholders the opportunity to grow in ways that will benefit both themselves and their surroundings. This blog will dive deeper into all the activities conducted this year and give an overview of what PATA's sustainability department has achieved this year.

Let’s start off with the Informal Workers Programme.

Informal Workers Programme in Indonesia

This initiative began in 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand, to increase the resilience of the informal sector through capacity building training. Informal workers, such as street food sellers, tour guides, tuk tuk drivers, and many more, make up a significant portion of the tourism value chain. Although they play a major role in the tourism sector, they are in a vulnerable position. Hence, it is of great importance to give a voice to this group that is often excluded from industry discussions.

From March to May 2023, the programme with the support of Visa and implementation partner, Wise Steps Consulting, was expanded to two new destinations: Bali and Jakarta. As every destination is different, there needed to be different approaches and topics covered in the training. In Bali, the focus was more on financial management, mobile photography and digital marketing, while in Jakarta, topics such as hygiene and safety in food handling as well as the heritage and historical importance of Jakarta were emphasised. The initiative managed to reach a total of 502 informal workers who joined the capacity-building sessions in Bali and Jakarta.

Learn more about the Informal Workers Programme in Indonesia:

Online course on Finance and Digital Skills

How can businesses manage their finances more efficiently and leverage digital marketing to attract more customers? These and other topics are covered in the free online course developed and launched by PATA in June 2023 called ‘Finance and Digital Skills for Tourism SMEs’ which can be accessed through PATA’s Sustainability Resource Centre website. The course is part of PATA's collaboration with Visa to empower tourism SMEs in the Asia Pacific region with greater financial and digital literacy. 

Learn more about the course on this blog and access the full course here. The course is available in six languages: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Khmer, Thai and Mandarin Chinese.

Workshops on Finance and Digital Skills for Tourism SMEs

Following the online course, PATA and Visa took the Finance and Digital Skills programme to four destinations in Southeast Asia for in-person workshops. These workshops took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jakarta, Indonesia, Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the Laguna Province in the Philippines from July to September 2023. The training was divided into two days of workshops in each destination, one for financial skills and the other for digital skills. A total of 120 tourism SMEs across the four destinations joined the programme, varying from accommodation providers to hospitality and travel agencies.

The Finance and Digital Skills workshops took inspiration from the online course but were tailored to the context of each destination by local trainers, who added case studies, examples and resources relevant to the participants' backgrounds. The workshops were also carried out in the local language to maximise learning and knowledge-sharing.

Learn more about the Finance and Digital Skills workshops in this blog.

Waste-Free Champion Awards

Besides the capacity-building activities, in August 2023 PATA launched the Waste-Free Champion Awards, dedicated to Thai tourism businesses that have successfully reduced plastic and food waste in their operations. Candidates needed to submit their application online, explaining their best practice, which category it fits in (food or plastic waste reduction), what results have been achieved, and what steps will be taken to further reduce their food or plastic waste footprint. 

The winners had the opportunity to join PATA Travel Mart (PTM) in early October, in New Delhi, India, and present their best practice at the PTM Forum, where they also received their award. Sivatel Bangkok Hotel was the Food Waste-Free Champion, represented by the CEO, Alisara Sivayathorn. Sivatel's best practice towards food waste reduction includes composting food waste, implementing a Zero Food Waste cooking policy, and working with black soldier fly worms to decompose organic waste.

The Plastic Waste-Free Winner was Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, represented by Kanokwan Homcha-aim, Cluster Naturalist. Among the strategies to tackle plastic waste, the resort has established a Green Team Committee to develop a zero-plastic strategy, eliminated single-use items, and is engaging suppliers to also reduce their plastic footprint. The Food and Plastic Waste-Free Champions illustrate the possibilities for other tourism businesses in the Asia Pacific to make the transition to a more responsible and greener future.

These awards are part of the Tourlink project, in which PATA is a partner and aims to green the Thai tourism supply chain. Learn more about this project's previous activities here

Food Waste-Free Champion: Sivatel Bangkok Hotel

Plastic Waste-Free Champion: Anantara Layan Phuket Resort

In 2023, with the efforts of PATA and Visa, over 600 tourism professionals received training on various topics to grow and improve their businesses. Furthermore, tourism businesses with sustainability best practices have been given the opportunity to promote and showcase their efforts. For creating lasting impact, it is important to give access to useful tools and resources so that tourism stakeholders can pave their way to resilience and sustainability, and PATA is proud to continue this mission in 2024. 

Do you have any questions about PATA's sustainability initiatives? Get in touch with us at Also, don't miss PATA's newsletters for updates on our upcoming projects.


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