Over the last few decades, concern for the environment has soared up the political and business agenda. Today one can find a plethora of companies offering to offset carbon emissions ranging from non-profit organizations to ventures backed by high street and investment banks.
Consumers of travel are notoriously price sensitive and many will shop around for hours to save less than 1% on the price of their holiday. Green initiatives cost money, and one has to ask whether being ‘green’ really works for consumers.
One company that has long felt that ‘green’ makes business sense is Scandic Hotels. Its CEO, Frank Fiskers said, “Modern consumers are environmentally conscious for sure, but they are also conscious when it comes to style
and quality, and they expect to be able to get all this in one package without trade-offs. They won’t choose your hotel because you do good deeds for the environment. They will choose your hotel because it gives them an inspirational experience and makes them feel good about themselves.”
At the ETOA conference in London on November 6, Mr. Fiskers will explain to his most important clients, a gathering of the major European in-bound tour operators, what Scandic is doing to reduce its environmental footprint and act in a sustainable way. He will also need to convince them that Scandic’s green investments will help tour operators to generate better profits from price sensitive holiday makers.
Tom Jenkins, executive director, the European Tour Operators Association, said, “Despite all the attention given to the subject, there is a tendency for travel companies to sheer away from environmental issues. Some of the prognoses are so apocalyptic that remedial action seems pointless: like putting on Wellingtons when faced with a tidal wave. Others commend
government curbs and self denial. This is never welcome in an industry that sells the prospect of indulgent comfort. But maybe we have been looking at it the wrong way. Maybe we should not ask ‘What can we do about this?’ but more, ‘How can we make money from it?’
A vigorous discussion is expected.
For further information and to gain accreditation as a journalist, please contact Sonia Wilson, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7499 4412, Email: Seisenhauer@etoa.org or David Tarsh, Tarsh Consulting, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, Email:David@Tarsh.com .
About the Global European Marketplace
ETOA’s Global European Marketplace (GEM) is the most important gathering of the European inbound tourism industry. It takes place on Thursday, November 6 at the Copthorne Tara hotel in Kensington, immediately before World Travel Market in London, and all the major players participate, including Accor, Amadeus, American Express, British Airways Holidays, Cosmos, Ebookers, Eurostar, Expedia, Globus, Gullivers, Hilton, Historic Royal Palaces, InterContinental, Kuoni, London Eye, Marriott, Sixt, Sol Melia, Starwood, Tauck World Discovery and Tussauds Group.
The GEM comprises a conference, workshop, exhibition and black-tie dinner at the Café Royale. The conference is attended by over a hundred top executives, high-level consultants and the media. The workshop facilitates approximately 7,500 one-on-one meetings between senior-level buyers and sellers, with the buyers seated at tables and sellers circulating to meet them.
Since its foundation in 1989, ETOA has grown exponentially to include over 400 member organizations, of which more than a hundred are tour operators. Collectively, ETOA represents over €7 billion spending on accommodation and travel services annually. ETOA provides representation at the European government level for companies involved in bringing tourists to Europe. The Association promotes greater awareness of the benefits provided by the
group travel industry in Europe – particularly increased income and employment. ETOA also influences European tourism policy and legislation.
Areas of specific activity include:
• Promoting Europe as a tourism destination
• Establishing codes of conduct and guidelines for its members
• Establishing commercial opportunities between buyers and sellers
• Working with other travel and tourism associations to raise the industry’s profile