The Bangkok Manifesto, created at the SITE Global Conference in Bankok, Thailand in January, comprises 10 statements developed by incentive industry thought leaders on the industry’s true purpose in the business world today.

The Manifesto has been published in hard copy with the addition of written commentary on each of the 10 statements from industry experts in several disciplines–DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Each week we will take a deep dive into each one, thanks to our industry experts: This week we look at number 1 on social responsibility with commentary from Denise Naguib, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Marriott International, Inc.

The Bangkok Manifesto

1: Every stakeholder in the incentive travel community should embrace social responsibility as a core part of their business philosophy and recognize that our business practices and policies will define how that responsibility is exercised.

As communities face increasing challenges related to scarcer natural resources, shifting weather patterns, overtourism and the negative impacts from a disposable culture, travellers around the world have no greater responsibility than to consider how they can address solutions.  Travel can and should be a force for good.  For us at Marriott International, this idea is embedded in our sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction.  And that power to positively impact the world around us is not that of superheroes, but a real power each of us possess.

Incentive travellers have a unique opportunity to realize that power by experiencing the destination while mitigating negative impact.  From offsetting one’s carbon footprint through tree planting programs, supporting renewable energy projects, traveling with a reusable water bottle, or by participating in a volunteer event in the communities where we visit, we can make a difference. 

Imagine the impact an incentive group can have when they engage in a mangrove restoration project while on the beaches of Thailand?  Or support a community by assembling recycled soap hygiene kits to help children combat illness from sanitation?  Or build a well or install solar panels so communities can have access to water and connections to the world of information? 

Mitigating negative impact will allow those amazing destinations we depend on to remain vibrant and sustainable places that others wish to come back to again and again.  I can’t help but think back to the story about the young girl who methodically picked up sea stars washed up after high tide, tossing them into the ocean one by one.  It is important that we not try and tackle the entire ‘ocean’, but instead take one small step, then another.  And before long, every action we take will be in support of each of us doing good in every direction!

Denise Naguib
Vice President, Global Sustainability and Supplier Diversity
Marriott International, Inc.