WTM, London has launched a Platform for Change to facilitate the sharing of solutions to the diverse challenges of sustainability. The Responsible Tourism agenda is broad from the crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and growing inequality to child protection, overtourism and the challenge of engendering respect between guests and hosts
Between now and WTM, London in November we shall be publishing a whole range of proven solutions to the challenges faced by our sector in what President Biden has described as the critical decade. Many of the examples which will feature on these pages of solutions will be drawn from the winners of the Responsible Tourism Awards, including doubtless many of those that are entered for this year’s Global Responsible Tourism Awards. This year’s categories are listed in the graphic below. Remember that we can only select the best from amongst those that enter and that the Awards close for nominations and entries on August 31st.
The pages of solutions will be debated and added to over the months until, and doubtless beyond WTM, London in November. COP26 on Climate Change will be taking place at the same time in Glasgow and one of the days at WTM London will focus on greenhouse gas emission reductions. The first page of the Platform for Change relates to our sector’s biggest challenge, aviation’s dirty fuel. There is a solution, but decarbonising aviation requires investment.
Booking.com’s annual survey of consumer attitudes has shown a steady increase in recent years in the number of travellers and holidaymakers aspiring to travel and holiday more sustainably. 53% said in responding to Booking.com’s research that they get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable, for example, by not providing recycling facilities. Nearly half of all travellers and holidaymakers believe that there are not enough sustainable travel options available. And it isn’t just the green agenda 84% believe increasing cultural understanding and preservation of cultural heritage is crucial; 76% want to ensure the economic impact of the industry is spread equally in all levels of society.
Some in the industry will respond that this is just an aspiration and choose denial. And yet they take the aspiration to visit their destination seriously and respond to it. This denial makes no sense, Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report reveals a potential watershed moment for businesses and destinations. This is an opportunity to engage in price competition and to secure more business.
Some complain that it takes time to apply for a Responsible Tourism Award. It does, the judges want to know about what you have done and to understand why you should win an award. That does take time.
But, if you were already communicating your responsibility to consumers, the travel media, your supply chain and your neighbours, it would require very little additional effort to enter the awards. If you are communicating what you are doing and what you have achieved for the first time, in order to enter the awards then take the hint – use it on your website and with the media. Get noticed, thrive.
Glynn O’Leary explains why they enter the awards – it is no vanity project.
See here for more information.