According to the environmental organisation WWF, nearly 600,000 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every year.
British holidaymakers are being encouraged to take plastic-free package holidays in Tunisia this year after the two countries signed an agreement on cutting tourist waste, inews reports.
Tourists will be banned from using disposable plastic cups and cutlery in hotels by the end of March, while plastic drinking straws were phased out at the end of the year.
Other measures under the new sustainable tourism charter include tour operators supporting recycling at hotels and encouraging Britons to buy goods from local artisans, the same source said.
According to the environmental organisation WWF, nearly 600,000 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every year, with a significant proportion coming from tourist beaches. For Tunisia alone, this is estimated to cost £15.1m a year in tourism, fishing and navigation.
Tunisian hotels will be encouraged to attain a Global Sustainable Tourism certificate by the end of this year. The charter was signed by the British Embassy, Tunisian tourism minister Rene Trabelsi and the tour operators’ association ABTA in the popular resort of Hammamet at the end of last year, inews added.
Louise de Sousa, UK ambassador to Tunisia, said: “I am pleased to launch this project and hope it will be rolled out to other areas of Tunisia, helping preserve the beauty of this country. This will not only appeal to British tourists but also provide economic benefits for Tunisian businesses.
“The reduction of plastic waste is a crucial element of the UK government’s work to protect the world’s oceans and ensure we leave a cleaner planet to the next generation.”
haled Fakhfakh, president of the Federation of Tunisian Hotels said: “Tunisia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, deserts and mountains in the Mediterranean. This charter will allow us to meet our determination to protect and promote this natural beauty for generations to come.”
Clare Jenkinson, senior destinations and sustainability manager for ABTA, said: “ABTA is well-placed to work with its members, national and local governments to share best practice in sustainable destination management.
“This charter to improve waste management, reduce single-use plastics and support the local economy in Tunisian tourist destinations is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together and setting commitments.”