The vast majority of travel companies consider sustainability is important to their business, according to the World Travel Market 2014 Industry Report.
Released today by World Travel Market – the leading global event for the travel industry – the report surveyed 1,229 respondents from the travel trade and found that green issues are high on their agenda.
A total of 86% said they consider sustainability to be important to their company, with 10% of those quizzed saying it had a central importance.
Two fifths (40%) said it was very important while 36% said it was quite important.
And the findings bode well for the future too, as a third (30%) said the issue would “significantly increase” in importance over the next three years, and two fifths (41%) predicted it will “slightly increase” in importance in the next three years.
The World Travel Market 2014 Industry Report also shows that green issues are important for many holidaymakers, although not to the extent they are for the travel trade.
A poll of 1,011 UK holidaymakers, who had a seven night holiday either in the UK or abroad in 2014, for WTM found that more than a third (36%) consider the environment and sustainability when making a decision about booking a holiday.
However, the research also found that internet connectivity ranks higher, as 42% said access to free Wi-Fi affected their booking plans.
Sustainable tourism is now well established within the travel trade, thanks to firms such as responsibletravel.com and initiatives such as The Travel Foundation and WTM’s successful Responsible Tourism programme and World Responsible Tourism Day – the biggest day of responsible tourism action in the world.
Major travel groups issue sustainability reports to inform investors and consumers about their progress, and the aviation industry has set targets for carbon neutral growth and cutting CO2 emissions in half.
Recently, TUI Travel was placed fourth in the annual ranking of the FTSE 100 companies by carbon management organisation Carbon Clear, which assesses best-practice carbon reporting processes, strategy and performance.
Thomas Cook Group says sustainability is at the “heart of its business” and its Code of Conduct covers key areas such as operating sustainably, community engagement and child protection issues.
The trade’s efforts are reflected among consumers too, as demonstrated by a recent report from Lonely Planet and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), marking the 100th anniversary of commercial air travel.
The report said green travel is on the rise as travellers expect companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, prompting a boom in ecotourism and volunteering abroad.
World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “Sustainable travel has long been a key part of WTM, and we launched our Environmental Awareness Day way back in 1994.
“Environmental Awareness Day evolved into World Responsible Tourism Day, and now the programme of events stretches across all four days of WTM, reflecting its central role in the industry.
“It’s great to see from this research that so many travel firms put sustainability high on their agenda – it’s crucial for all our futures to protect the destinations we love to visit, but it also makes good economic sense, as our WTM Responsible Tourism programme will demonstrate.”
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About World Travel Market
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.
WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.
WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.
In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.