08 Oct

Tourism 2023 - towards a sustainable travel and tourism industry

Towards a Sustainable Travel and Tourism Industry Leading players in UK tourism pledged today to create a strong and profitable industry for the future, which benefits tourist destinations and protects the environment. Founding partners ABTA, British Airways, Carnival UK, The Co-operative Travel, The Travel Foundation, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel, announced their commitment at the launch of Tourism 2023 at The Travel Convention in Barcelona. Together the partners carry approximately 45 million passengers every year. Tourism 2023, coordinated by sustainable development charity Forum for the Future and supported by Defra, is a collaborative project to help the UK outbound travel and tourism industry to anticipate and plan for its future. It sets out a clear vision of a profitable and successful future supported by an effective industry strategy.  The founding partners together with Advantage Travel Centres and Sunvil Holidays, have signed up to the vision committing themselves to creating a sustainable industry by 2023 which benefits people and the environment.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “It is vital that the travel and tourism industry meets the challenges that an international industry faces if we want to have a successful and profitable future. By working together we can come up with practical and innovative solutions to these challenges, which make sound commercial sense. Tourism 2023 sets out the destination, and the direction we must follow to get there.”

The Tourism 2023 Vision is based on six principles: protecting the environment; developing employees; providing customers with mainstream sustainable products; ensuring that destinations benefit from tourism; innovating to create sustainable transport and resorts; and developing a business which is environmentally, socially and financially sustainable. The vision and strategy have been developed in response to four detailed scenarios which explore critical uncertainties facing the UK outbound industry such as the impact of growing domestic demand, climate change, resource scarcity, legislation, and increasing travel from emerging economies. Vivid details bring the world of each scenario to life and are designed to provoke debate. 

Will mass tourism see overcrowded destinations herding visitors from attraction to attraction on timed tickets?

Will technological breakthroughs see virtual travel replace disappointing real life experiences?

Will there be new types of fuel, or aircraft design, or even a return of the airship?

The founding partners commissioned the scenarios to help the industry imagine and plan for its future. More than 100 people with expertise in different facets of the industry - including business leaders, academics, legislators, campaigners and commentators – have helped develop the scenarios, vision and strategy. The partners hope that the project will also catalyse action within the wider UK outbound industry to tackle the challenges it faces. They are inviting other organisations to sign up to the vision and take part in the work which will help shape the future of tourism. 

Mike Greenacre, Managing Director, The Co-operative Travel, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of Tourism 2023, developing with other leading businesses a sustainable vision and strategy for the future.  Tourism 2023 shows that the Industry can work together to meet some of the toughest challenges that the sector has to face over the next 15 years.’

Dermot Blastland, Managing Director, TUI Travel UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled to be joining other leading operators in signing up to the Tourism 2023 Vision. We hope that through combining our efforts we can take our collective sustainability commitment to the next level, setting industry-wide goals on issues that cannot be tackled by individual tour operators alone.” 

Dan Norris, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment said: ‘It’s great to see these organisations coming together to declare their commitment to Tourism 2023 and working to reduce their environmental impact and I hope others will join them. I look forward to seeing their vision turn into real actions and create a low-carbon industry.’

Stephanie Draper, Director, Forum for the Future, said: “The founders recognise that the best way to create a commercially sustainable future is to take their social and environmental responsibilities to the heart of their businesses. Their commitment to the Tourism 2023 Vision shows the way to the rest of the industry in the UK and worldwide.”

Click here: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/projects/tourism-2023 download the report, to view animations of each scenario, and for quotes from the partners and information on how they put their commitments into practice.

Forum for the Future:

Alex Johnson, Media and Publications Officer
a.johnson@forumforthefuture.org or +44 (0) 20 7324 3624

David Mason, Head of Communications
d.mason@forumforthefuture.org or +44 (0) 20 7324 3631

The Tourism 2023 research identified three workstreams which require urgent industry collaboration:

1.      Sustainable destinations. The industry needs to demonstrate and monitor the economic benefit tourism delivers to destination communities. This will help protect holiday destinations for the future and increase their value and appeal to customers.  This will require working in partnership with governments and communities in tourist destinations.

2.      Low-carbon innovation. We urgently need to seek, find and implement solutions to make tourism a low-carbon, low-impact industry. The industry needs to focus on trialling new technologies and taking them to scale. It should seek to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, and to reduce waste and demands on natural resources. 

3.      Driving customer demand.  The industry has an opportunity to increase the market for sustainable tourism by promoting its benefits to customers and by developing further insight into what will motivate people to take sustainable holidays. The founding partners and Forum for the Future, ABTA and the Travel Foundation, with the support of Government, are now working together to develop the framework to engage the wider industry and deliver the Tourism 2023 Vision. This framework will enable the industry to develop a set of success measures for the project’s ongoing activities and workstreams, to engage with governments, international organisations and other tourism stakeholders and encourage more industry players to sign up to the vision and work programmes.

Forum for the Future – the not-for-profit sustainable development organisation -- works in partnership with more than 100 leading companies and public sector organisations, helping them devise more sustainable strategies and deliver these in the form of new products and services. www.forumforthefuture.org Tourism 2023 forms part of the Forum’s ambitious programme of work on sustainable tourism and travel. To learn more, go to: www.forumforthefuture.org/projects/travel-and-tourism

The Travel Foundation is the leading resource for the travel industry on sustainable tourism, providing training and guidelines to help travel companies understand, manage and take effective and practical action.  An independent UK charity, the Travel Foundation currently funds and manages over 30 projects in 14 destinations around the world, showcasing best practice in efforts which improve the well-being of destination communities, protect the environment, and enrich the tourism experience, now and into the future. Media contact:  Georgina Davies, PR Manager, Travel Foundation. 07918653729.