For the last few years the World Travel Market (WTM), London has emerged as the largest annual Responsible Tourism event with an extensive programme of panels and interviews and the Responsible Tourism Awards, which I wrote about here a couple of weeks ago. WTM has promoted Responsible Tourism since it launched its Responsible Tourism Day back in 2007. As Juliette Losardo, the exhibition director of WTM, London said back in September: “Building a robust and responsible future for travel and tourism is a priority, and World Travel Market London aims to unite the global travel industry with that shared objective”.
Through the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, we recognise and showcase businesses doing the most to develop and implement responsible practices. Our focus is on raising the issues and spreading knowledge about practical solutions.Juliette Losardo, the exhibition director of WTM, London
This year we are focusing on the business case for taking responsibility to contribute to making better places for people to live in and to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. There is now a clear commercial advantage in taking responsibility. Booking.com’s 2022 report revealed a 10% increase in demand for sustainable products over 2021 with 81% of travellers asserting that sustainable travel is important to them, with 50% saying that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices.
70% of global travellers say they would be more likely to choose a sustainable accommodation – whether they were looking specifically for one or not. Booking.com’s 2021 report revealed that 49% still believe there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available, with 53% saying they get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable, for example, by not providing recycling facilities.
This year our focus is on the business advantage of responsible tourism, demonstrating to potential clients that you are working to become more sustainable, and as COP 27 opens, we have a panel on decarbonisation. Full details of the Responsible Tourism programme at WTM this year can be found here.
On the panel on global warming, decarbonisation and avoiding greenwashing we have industry speakers from easyJet, Intrepid, The Travel Corporation, wellbeing resort in Romania and bus tour operator.
Our programme kicks off with a panel on Why Responsible Tourism Makes Business Sense with business leaders from Contiki, Transfrontier Parks Destinations, ABTA, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Charlotte Wwiebe, Group Sustainability Director, TUI.
The BBC’s Tanya Beckett is moderating a panel on Growing Consumer Demand for Responsible Tourism with speakers from Booking.com and YouGov (they have the market research) easyJet, and My Green Butler, talking about how to engage the traveller and holidaymaker.
One of the key challenges is using sustainability in your marketing without looking like you are just one among many greenwashers. On the panel, we have sustainability marketing experts Xavier Font, Tim Williamson from Responsible Travel, and speakers with experience in China outbound, Kerala, TUI and boutique hotels.
Diversity is both a responsibility and a business opportunity. An inclusive approach in employment and the consumer offer makes business sense. We have panellists from West Africa, India, Brazil, and the Travel Corporation.
There are also two in-depth conversations with Shannon Guihan from The Travel Corporation and Treadright and Garry Wilson from easyJet Holidays about the business case and their plans for the future.
As I have written here previously, India is now the world’s leading destination for Responsible Tourism – Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra all have Responsible Tourism presentations at WTM, London.