09 Nov

Destinations and sustainability at the heart of European tourism policy

ECTAA, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators' Association, has formed a Destinations and Sustainability Committee following the amalgamation of the International Federation of Tour Operators (IFTO) and ECTAA earlier in 2010.

The Destinations and Sustainability Committee will lead on the former IFTO agenda, principally in relation to:-

• Sustainability, including the Environment, Sustainable and Responsible Tourism.

• Health and Safety

• Crisis Communications Coordination

• Destinations Policy – creating the conditions for thriving and sustainable destinations world wide and minimising the barriers to the free movement of people (through taxes, Visas, charges, etc.) which impact on sustainable development, the promotion of good strategic planning practice and integrated transport policy.

ABTA Head of Destinations and Sustainability, Nikki White, welcomed this important development. ‘It is essential that we progress this agenda at European level and we can be more effective as 27 member states with a collective voice. IFTO and ECTAA are also more effective as one’.

Sustainability and Destinations challenges are at the heart of the ABTA strategy and core to that is working closely with other stakeholders to raise these issues up the agenda within Europe.

One example of this is Travelife, the industry backed supply chain system, which has for the second time received EU funding, this time through the ECO Innovation project from DG Environment. Travelife was established with assistance from the EC INTOUR project to develop a pan European approach to tour operator supply chain management.

John de Vial, Director of Travelife, said: ‘Travelife has been adopted as the preferred tool of Europe’s leading tourism groups including TUI, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, Virgin, Cosmos; by other European trade associations including founding partner ANVR (The Netherlands) and leading hotel chains.

Michel de Blust, Secretary General of ECTAA added: ‘Our members recognise the critical importance of sustainability both for destinations and the industry as a whole. That is why ECTAA is taking a lead within Europe.’