The global travel and tourism industry must “double” its efforts to become environmentally responsible to avoid catastrophe, argues WTM chief Fiona Jeffery.
Ms Jeffery, chairman of World Travel Market, argues environmental damage is “perhaps one of the greatest challenges” ever faced, with businesses presently failing to address concerns.
While a good response has been noted from small specialist companies, destinations and multi-national companies were dragging their feet, argues Ms Jeffery.
“Businesses today are under external scrutiny as never before,” she explained
“Shareholders, investors, employees and customers are expecting them to practice excellence across the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental management.”
Ms Jeffery made the comments at the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day, held in association with the UNWTO.
“Humanitarian issues” were of concern, she explained, while the impact of climate change of tourism would also prove detrimental to the industry, explained the WTM chief.
The remarks follow government approval for a third runway at Heathrow Airport last week – a move branded “hypocritical” by campaigners, in view of government targets to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Greenpeace has also purchased land at the site with a view to slowing and even halting the construction process.
“We need to show consumers that we are listening to their demands”, added Ms Jeffery.
“That we are pulling together as an industry, not just by talking about the issues, but taking continuous and orchestrated worldwide action to safeguard the planet while at the same time, playing our part in helping to stamp out poverty.”
“Integrating responsible practices can benefit a business in so many ways. Admired and respected companies attract investors, enjoy better customer and guest loyalty and are able to recruit and retain high calibre motivated employees.”