Tourism can be a force for good, offering a vital source of income and employment for communities in destinations, and helping to improve welfare and health and safety standards.
It is important that the wider impacts of tourism are also understood and managed and ABTA is committed to working with its Members, their suppliers, travelers and destination governments, including the UK government, to build a sustainable industry.
The UK Government has the ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and ABTA recognizes that aviation and shipping, which international travel and tourism are reliant upon, are carbon-intensive and have a crucial role to play in reaching these objectives.
In response to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry, ABTA has highlighted examples where the government can help, including undertaking the modernization of UK airspace. It should also consider establishing a task force for decarbonizing aviation, similar to the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce – working in partnership with industry and incentivizing alternative fuels.
At the same time, a sustainable tourism approach is needed to cover operations and supply chain via the promotion of recognized certification. Travelife, run by ABTA, supports over 1,500 hotels sold by Members in over 50 countries with improving their sustainability performance and highlighting those achievements to travelers and travel companies.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “Tourism brings with it considerable benefits that the industry should rightly be proud of. Economies and people depend on tourism, it protects and promotes cultural exchange and can support the preservation of natural environments and cultural heritage.
“The UK tourism industry plays a vital role in generating jobs and supporting communities in many destinations across the world. However, the industry must be mindful of its wider impacts, including climate change and it must play its part in combating this, in support of the government’s net-zero target. The breadth of ABTA’s industry relations, from hotels and attractions in destination, to tour operators, cruise companies and retailers in the UK, means that it is ideally placed to encourage and guide companies on their path to decarbonization.
“ABTA is openly engaging and looks forward to working with the UK government, its Members and the wider industry to develop policies and promote best practices that reduce any impacts of tourism and travel on the environment.”