Responsible holidays must be mass market
Thursday 11, November 2010
Green, sustainable holidays must become mainstream if travel is to tackle climate change and poverty.
That was the call from environmental pioneer Tony Juniper, who opened WTM’s World Responsible Tourism Day today.
Speaking at World Travel Market, the premier global event for the travel industry, he said: “We need to mainstream the idea that sustainable tourism is something for all of us to aspire to.”
He called on the trade to reposition its multibillion-pound marketing expenditure to woo customers to book sustainable holidays as a matter of course.
“It’s not just a morally lauded choice, it is in our long-term interest,” he said, warning of environmental threats to iconic destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, Kilimanjaro, ski resorts and the Maldives.
“Stress on water resources mean Sahara conditions could jump across the Med to resorts,” he told the WTM audience at London’s ExCeL today.
The former Friends of the Earth boss said technologies are already available to help reduce travel’s impact on the planet, such as low-carbon buildings and electric vehicles.
Although technology is not yet able to make air travel emission-free, there are ways to have zero-carbon initiatives on the ground.
In order to get out of the niche of green tourism, the industry needs to “transition to sustainable development” and “transition psychology”.
The key to this is inspirational leaders, he said, urging the WTM audience to “step up and create that change”.
WTM Chairman Fiona Jeffery said 2010 was the international year of biodiversity and asked the audience to imagine a world without tigers, elephants, rhinos, turtles and the blue whale.
“Without biodiversity, we annihilate the world that we seek to show our customers,” she warned.
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