Stop hitting on the airlines: the world needs more flights for development


BRUSSELS, Belgium – Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Director of, addressing the IIPT Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, said it was time to recognize the pivotal role aviation plays in the development of the world’s poorest states and to look for more tourists from China to boost African economies, following the strengthening trade patterns between the regions.

The central point of his remarks was the huge potential for the world’s least developed counties (LDC) – particularly in Africa – to transition out of poverty through green growth. He noted ”the massive potential dividends ahead as the global green growth agenda takes root – with inclusion as a key element, renewable energy as a point of focus, technology and capacity support as givens, and transformation financing pivotal. And this will be aided by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China) led reshaping of the international order – particularly China with its huge tourism flows and LDC-aligned strategic geo-policy.”

He called for a new mindset that would properly value the pivotal role of travelism – the travel and tourism supply-and-demand chains – in the transformation – as a universal services export, as a producer of wealth and jobs, as a catalyst for other economic activity, and as a good industry that increases human understanding and happiness.

He said it was time for the entire travel and tourism industry to take up the fight against discriminatory, punitive taxes and charges on airlines and air pasengers, noting that the UK Air Passenger Duty was particularly cynical and anti development, by dramatically increasing the cost of travel to poor countries. Since its introduction in 1994 as a supposed green tax, the cost to passemgers had increased more than 2,500 percent, according to IATA, without one penny going to green programs.

Lipman forecasted that aviation would meet evolving government climate change targets, citing studies by the World Economic Forum and policy initiatives by ICAO and IATA. He said: ”We must resist the prophets of gloom and doom who will tell you that our industry’s carbon footprint is massive, or we must compensate for some sort of guilt factor, or we should be pleased to pay disproportionate taxes, or worst of all, that it’s a sin to fly. The facts are very different– we have a carbon footprint, like every other human activity – it can be fixed in the 40-year transformation period, which we absolutely must do. And more importantly, we will be able to do it by combinations of technology, smart energy, market mechanisms, and a clear price for carbon.

“But we must join mainstream industry in our response and start making the tough choices now. And we must get on the renewables bandwagon – in climate-proofing buildings, shifting to clean bio-fuels, and hooking our rural tourism to local community low-carbon transformation.”

Speech at