THE IMPACT OF TRAVEL
Travel+Leisure India|October 2021
As the Director of Sustainability at Booking.com, Marianne Gybels uses her knowledge of social sciences to effect real change. In a conversation with RASHIMA NAGPAL , she talks about some model destinations around the world and how the pandemic has affected travellers’ choices.
RASHIMA NAGPAL

What does it mean to be director of sustainability at Booking.com?

As a leading global travel brand, we believe it is our responsibility to help preserve and build a world worth experiencing—now and long into the future. My team leads the company’s wider efforts on this front. This ranges from working with our partner-facing teams to find innovative and engaging ways to encourage our accommodation partners to adopt more sustainable practices, to collaborating with our product teams to experiment with new and better ways to surface our partners’ sustainability information. Ultimately, we want to make it easier for everyone to travel more sustainably.

My team also engages with stakeholders across the travel industry. You see this with our ongoing commitment to Travalyst, as well as through our recent collaboration with the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to educate our partners on reducing their usage of single-use plastics while still maintaining health and hygiene standards. My team is also responsible for driving the company’s efforts with regards to carbon neutrality.

What is the definition of sustainable travel according to you?

It’s about keeping destinations happy and healthy, and leaving the places we visit better than how we found them. It’s not just about reducing impact; it’s about having a positive impact. At the end of the day, no one wants to go swimming on a beach covered in garbage.

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