Tourism industry could do more for sustainable travel

The travel and tourism industry could do more for responsible and sustainable tourism, according to a new survey by SustainIt, a consultancy that specialises in sustainability performance.

The survey took place at World Travel Market 2011 – the leading global event for the travel industry – which recognised that as it continues to grow there is an increased emphasis on responsible travel.

During WTM 2011, technology and online travel exhibitor SustainIt surveyed more than 200 WTM participants in an attempt to understand their experiences of sustainability and responsible tourism and work out whether the industry really is engaging in the principles of sustainability.

More than seven out of ten industry professionals – which included hoteliers, airlines, resorts and tourist attractions – believe the travel and tourism industry could do more to reduce poverty and support sustainable local economic development in destination communities. Only 18% of companies questioned have sustainable supply chains and procurement policies in place.

Fiona Jeffery Tourism industry could do more for sustainable travel

Fiona Jeffery

An increasing number of companies offer their customers carbon offsets, but only 26% were looking at their own carbon footprint. Six out of ten industry professionals felt their company could do more to promote sustainability overall, with only 29% of employees not knowing if they had an targets or objectives to meet in these areas.

When WTM delegates were asked to identify the key responsible tourism issue for 2012, the survey ranked ‘Increasing employee and customer engagement in sustainability’ as the top issue. With only 29% of respondents believing their company is doing enough to promote sustainability and responsible travel/tourism to its employees and customers.

The statistics suggest that the industry is informed and aware of sustainability on one hand but a lack of employee and customer engagement on the other.

SustainIT managing director Charlie Stockford said: “Our survey shows that whilst there is increasing activity and concern around sustainable and responsible travel and tourism within the trade, many employees are not aware of what their own company is trying to achieve and therefore are unable to share it with their customers.

“We really hope that 2012 is a year where businesses start communicating and engaging far more with their employees about their sustainability and responsible travel programmes and that those companies who are just starting out realise the real positive impact a good sustainability programme can make to both their profitability and to the future of our planet.”

Fiona Jeffery, Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman WTM and pioneer of responsible tourism said the key observations revealed are ultimately the main reasons why WTM World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD) – an international day of action dedicated to help protect the world – was created.

She said: “Travel companies, destinations and professionals worldwide recognise that responsible tourism offers a valuable and exciting new dimension to travel and tourism. With this in mind, one of the key objectives of WTM WRTD is to help drive change by educating more responsible behaviour with the travel and tourism industry and travelling public.”

This year’s WTM World Responsible Tourism Day will take place on Wednesday 7 November at WTM, to be held at ExCeL London. For more information visit or

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Date / Fecha: 23/01/12

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