Travel Foundation CEO Salli Felton and I have just returned back from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Madrid. The Global Summit is the annual get-together for travel industry big-hitters, tourism ministers and associated industries to learn about the challenges and opportunities ahead and to do business.
As well as the expected focus on investment, infrastructure, taxation and visas (the things that can both help or hinder the travel and tourism industry) the WTTC, its strategic partner the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and other members of the Global Travel Association Coalition are starting to make increasingly bold calls on the industry to understand their social and environmental impacts, and coordinate their response – music to our ears!
Daryl Wade, CEO of Peak Adventure Travel – owners of the Intrepid Travel brand amongst others – gave his thoughts on why it was important for one of the world’s largest industries and economic success stories to act as one on common sustainability issues:
“As an industry, we don’t take this [sustainability] anywhere near seriously enough. The WTTC is increasingly successful at portraying travel as a huge industry. The negative side of that is that we could become a target for governments, NGOs and shareholder activists”.
To encourage its members (and the wider tourism world) to start speaking with one voice on its impacts, WTTC has launched a new guide on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting. With it, it hopes the industry can start to be ‘appropriately evaluated in terms of its contributions to both the economy and its impacts on environmental and social issues’.
As we know at the Travel Foundation, more monitoring and data availability and transparency can only be a good thing, so we applaud the WTTC’s drive to seek unity and uniformity and look forward to seeing the results of its efforts.
You can read a full version of the report here: http://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/policy%20research/esg%20main%20report%20-%20web.pdf
– Graeme Jackson, Head of Partnerships