With the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Travel Foundation has called on travel and tourism industry leaders to work together and act now in the scope of decarbonising the sector and reaching sustainability.
During the celebration, held in Brussels on 18 September, senior-level guests from across the globe were challenged to move beyond planning, to take action at scale and to work together pre-competitively to ensure their “trailblazing efforts have a transformational impact on the wider industry”. Specifically, two key areas for future collaboration were put forward: Environmental Social and Governance reporting and climate action.
I call on the next generation of industry leaders to step forward and step up – you know that doing good work in silos won’t cut it. The system will only change, as it must, with collective action.Jeremy Sampson, CEO The Travel Foundation
“Twenty years ago we were born from collaboration by the UK travel industry. Since then we have gone from strength to strength to become a truly global and independent organisation. We now need impact at scale – nothing less is good enough”, Travel Foundation CEO Jeremy Sampson said at the event.
Sampson’s call for collaboration echoed the findings of the organisation’s “Envisioning Tourism in 2030 & Beyond” report, published earlier this year, which found that there is only one scenario, requiring a united global effort, in which the tourism industry can meet the global decarbonisation pathway milestones, i.e. reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
The report looked at 40 types of actions, like limiting the global number of long-haul flights, switching to electric cars or having accommodations powered by renewable energy, and showed that all sectors across the tourism industry need to fundamentally change for the industry to reach these milestones.
Along its 20-year journey, the Travel Foundation has switched scope from supporting tour operators to supporting destinations. Continuing on this path of assisting destinations in their decarbonisation efforts, Sampson announced the opening of an office in Brussels. Hosted by Visit Flanders and neighbouring the European Travel Commission (ETC), the European Travel Association (ETOA) and NECSTouR (Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism), the new office should bring opportunities for funding, growth and partnership.
Sampson also announced a partnership with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which, in a historic first, involves both tourism and environment officials across the 11 Caribbean nations. “Through rich engagement and a pragmatic approach, we hope this relationship will be mutually beneficial, building on prior work and sharing lessons learned as we innovate and adapt to climate change and futureproof the OECS Tourism economy”, said Desmond Simon, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States in Brussels.
To further strengthen its role in catalysing collective action, the Travel Foundation, together with Expedia Group, will soon launch a free “climate champions” training resource for destination marketing and management organisations (DMMOs), available through Expedia’s online learning platform. “Expedia Group is proud to be partnering with the Travel Foundation to launch an innovative capacity building program on climate and sustainability for destinations around the world. Together we can create a more resilient and prosperous travel industry for generations to come”, Expedia’s VP for Global Social Impact and Sustainability, Aditi Mohapatra, said at the anniversary celebration.
Lastly, Sampson announced a closer alignment with the Sustainability Hospitality Alliance, with its members and partners representing 50,000 hotels globally, to identify opportunities that bring the accommodation sector and other tourism stakeholders together to deliver greater positive impact in destinations.