Responsible and sustainable should no longer be a fancy phrase travel companies use, or words placed in CSR reports to shut the campaigners up. They are quickly becoming a necessity. I hope this is the year that the tourism industry will awake from its perfect dream of profits, development and increase tourist numbers to the realization that this is a business model that is not sustainable unless responsible tourism is taken seriously.
Working in the industry, I understand how important WTM (World Travel Market) can be for obtaining and spending marketing budgets, creating new partnerships and promoting products. But within business to business discussions, how much of it includes the essential responsible tourism? You would hope quite a lot, especially as it is essential to protecting and even enhancing their product! But in the real world, I bet responsible tourism is barely touched upon. Off course, Wednesday 5th November is World Responsible Tourism Day which is kicked off by the 11th World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM, but how much is responsible tourism discussed on the exhibition’s floor, during business meetings, in making new deals, when creating partnerships? DMO’s and Tourist boards are just not interested, they are blinkered by quick profits, so how can we change this? Perhaps these 4 points may help travel organisations realize that ethical, sustainable and responsible tourism sells?