23 Feb

Bringing the industry together on sustainable tourism and accessible travel

ABTA’s events programme focuses on the issues which matter to our sector. Accessible travel and sustainable tourism are right up there, and among the topics in our current programme. 

When ABTA launched its Tourism for Good report in 2020 it set out a roadmap for rebuilding travel and tourism in a sustainable way. There has been progress over the last couple of years, with more businesses publishing sustainability strategies and reporting on targets, including setting science-based targets. There have also been advances in technology to develop cleaner fuels to power ships, planes and coaches, and we’ve also seen new projects protecting nature and biodiversity. 

There is great innovation and intent concerning sustainability in the travel industry, but there is still a long way to go.  At the heart of this progress is sharing insight and learning from each other. 

Progress, innovation and developments in sustainability for one company should mean progress for all. In a few weeks’ time, on March 15th, we will hold our Delivering Sustainable Travel to exchange ideas, provide inspiration and challenge our thinking. I’m delighted that we’ll have Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, to deliver the keynote address about the climate footprint of the global travel and tourism sector. There are still places available if you would like to join us, including some free places for travel agents. Find out more here.

Another important topic for ABTA and our members is accessible travel, and it’s an issue which is rising up the Government’s agenda; it was discussed at the Government’s Aviation Council, which I attend, earlier this month.

Yesterday we held our Accessible Travel and Tourism Seminar which brought together a wide range of industry experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities of accessible travel, sharing experiences and best practice. How to make travel accessible for a customer will depend on their individual needs and circumstances. Travel companies need to consider and support the breath of accessibility issues including temporary disabilities, neurodivergence and old age.

This point was highlighted at the event by Ross Calladine, who is the Government’s Disability and Access Ambassador for Tourism, and Head of Business Support at Visit England, citing that 1 in 5 of the UK population have some form of disability.

We have a wide range of free resources and online training for ABTA members on sustainability and accessibility which can be found in the MemberZone and the Knowledge Zone.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive