A new digital system, Weeva, has been created for the tourism industry to manage sustainability and build resilience.
It is estimated that the hotel industry alone is worth over $570 billion worldwide, the travel industry at large is worth $1.6 trillion, and employs over 271 million people. Simply put, the travel sector has clout.
However, that clout is not currently realising its full potential when it comes to mitigating the climate crisis, halting biodiversity loss, and driving social and economic development, despite the apparent will for change.
This thinking was the catalyst that drove Weeva co-founders Julie Cheetham and Lindsey Walter to consider how they might be able to help turn the tide on unsustainable practices within the travel sector.
Their vision is to usher in a new era of nett-positive impact across the board, from B&Bs, to luxury safari lodges, boutique urban boltholes to corporate travel hotel chains. The answer, they concluded, lay in data, or rather, the lack thereof.
“How can you map where you’re going if you don’t know where you are? So many within the travel sector want to do better but don’t have the means or knowledge to know where to start. We wanted to break down the barriers of entry to sustainability and demonstrate that everyone is welcome, and everyone can make a difference so long as they have a central data repository that clearly tracks where businesses are when it comes to the impact of their operations,” explained Cheetham.
Built on science by a team of sustainability experts and scientists alongside industry partners The Long Run and Preferred by Nature, Weeva is a tool that will enable properties, from small B&Bs to large hotel groups, to measure and improve their impact.
However, this is not just another carbon calculator. Weeva is also an incredible knowledge resource to help educate and empower teams on the ground to improve their eco efforts across 360 degrees of business operations – incorporating small changes across the 4C pillars of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
Weeva’s simple, intuitive design and how-to guides help properties and their team members understand their real impact – both negative and positive – with all the results in one place.
The easy-to-use dashboard will reveal and report real data, which is vital for establishments wanting to be transparent for guests or tour operators or simply to meet certification requirements.
Weeva has undergone rigorous testing from an initial pilot group of 20 companies that included the likes of Singita, Grootbos, Tswalu, Cottars, Borana Lodge and HBD Principe, and is now in the second phase of trials with a further 20 properties.
The app version is already in development, which will mean staff members can upload readings from their phones, and the platform will also be extended to serve tour operators, travel agents and tourist boards in a future iteration.
The official launch-to-market is set for spring 2023.