More CEOs are pushing responsible tourism towards the top of their agendas – underlining its increasing importance in business decisions, delegates on day one of WTM London heard.
In a session called ‘Why Responsible Tourism Makes Business Sense’, Charlotte Wwiebe, Group Sustainability Director at TUI Group said new CEO Sebastian Ebel puts sustainability in his top-three most important objectives.
She said: “Sustainability is high on his agenda. It’s one of his top three. He would like to talk more about actions.”
Meanwhile, Tasha Hayes, Operations Director and Sustainability Officer at Contiki said her CEO, Adam Armstrong, “sits on every sustainability call”.
Panel moderator Prof Harold Goodwin, who is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, said recent research by Booking.com showed 81% want sustainability but half struggle to find sustainable travel products.
This led TUI Group’s Charlotte Wwiebe to say the industry needed to “make it much easier to find sustainable choices”.
As one of the leading 18-35 adventure holiday companies, Contiki strives to offer guests hidden-gem experiences with local people in addition to must-see staples such as the Eiffel Tower, which makes the “guest experience better in so many ways”, leaving “travellers raving about” their trip and therefore generating more bookings, said Tasha Hayes.
Meanwhile, Claire Whitely, Head of Environment at the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, said big brands are moving away from their standardised guest experience wherever the traveller is in the world, with hotel chains incorporating local culture into the menu or artwork which “can make the difference and can make you feel more connected”.
And Carol Rose, Senior Sustainability Manager at ABTA said recent research by the association showed that 41% say they would choose one company over another if the company had sustainable credentials.