07 Apr

Working globally and locally on sustainability

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is holding its Sustainable Destinations Summit this week. The event will explore what destinations need to do to become more sustainable, looking at issues such as water and waste management and how local people benefit from tourism.

The event is timely given the latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released earlier this week, which outlined the actions needed to cut carbon emissions and avoid very dangerous global warming. 

Tomorrow I’ll be joining a panel at the summit, along with the German Travel Association (DVR) and Tourspain, to discuss how destinations can lead the transformation. I’ll be talking about three priorities for destinations as identified in our Tourism for Good report: ensuring local people benefit, good tourism infrastructure planning and management and safeguarding local culture and the natural environment.  

I’ll also be highlighting the good work already happening in destinations, such as initiatives to help rural, small-scale producers in south-west Turkey benefit from tourism and work in Menorca which has improved the quality, capacity and availability of drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The work of ABTA’s Travelife will be covered; this certification scheme helps accommodation providers make their premises more sustainable by addressing a range of factors including waste and energy use, human rights, fair labour and animal welfare. 

Importantly I’ll be stressing that that every part of the travel industry has a role to play in developing a more sustainable industry, and that we need to work together to tackle the shared challenges and show customers how the industry is responding. 

ABTA is here to support Members to develop a sustainability approach that is right for your business. Whatever the shape or size of your company, you can take action. It might be that it’s reducing energy use in your retail premises store or leading initiatives to help local people get a greater share of benefit from tourism in a destination. Our advice and guidance is there to help identify what action you can take as individual businesses, potentially supporting your reputation and profile, and boosting trade.

You can access ABTA's help and support on sustainability via the Member Zone.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive