Leading travel companies have pledged their commitment to a sustainable travel future, at the Abta Travel Convention in Barcelona today.
Founding partners Abta, British Airways, Carnival UK, The Co-operative Travel, The Travel Foundation, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel have, with Advantage Travel Centres and Sunvil Holidays, committed themselves to creating an industry which benefits people and the environment by 2023.
Tourism 2023 has six principles: protecting the environment; developing employees; providing customers with mainstream sustainable products; ensuring destinations benefit from tourism; innovating to create sustainable transport and resorts; and developing a business which is environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.
The initiative is being co-ordinated by Forum for the Future and Defra. The aim is to help the UK outbound travel and tourism industry anticipate and plan for its future.
Dan Norris, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment said: ‘It’s great to see these organisations coming together to declare their commitment to Tourism 2023 and working to reduce their environmental impact and I hope others will join them. I look forward to seeing their vision turn into real actions and create a low-carbon industry.’
Stephanie Draper, Director, Forum for the Future, said: “The founders recognise that the best way to create a commercially sustainable future is to take their social and environmental responsibilities to the heart of their businesses. Their commitment to the Tourism 2023 Vision shows the way to the rest of the industry in the UK and worldwide.”
Mark Tanzer, Abta Chief Executive said: “It is vital that the travel and tourism industry meets the challenges that an international industry faces if we want to have a successful and profitable future. By working together we can come up with practical and innovative solutions to these challenges, which make sound commercial sense. Tourism 2023 sets out the destination, and the direction we must follow to get there.”
The partners hope that the project will also lead to action within the wider UK outbound industry to tackle the challenges it faces.
They are inviting other organisations to sign up to the vision and take part in the work which will help shape the future of tourism.
Jonathon Counsell, British Airways head of environment, said: “British Airways is proud to be a part of the T2023 initiative.
“We will be embedding these principles into our business and see them as a complimentary to the broader work we have been engaged in on environmental issues.
“In January 2008 we announced that we would cut our net CO2 emissions 50% by 2050. Since then we have lobbied our industry, governments and the United Nations to seek broad support for this target and the inclusion of aviation in a global, sectoral approach to emissions trading.
“We are heartened that this is, indeed, the agreed industry position as we approach the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. It is now vital that we translate this new found cohesion within the travel and tourism industry into committed action.”
Mike Greenacre, Managing Director, The Co-operative Travel, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of Tourism 2023, developing with other leading businesses a sustainable vision and strategy for the future. Tourism 2023 shows that the Industry can work together to meet some of the toughest challenges that the sector has to face over the next 15 years.’
Dermot Blastland, Managing Director, TUI Travel UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled to be joining other leading operators in signing up to the Tourism 2023 Vision. We hope that through combining our efforts we can take our collective sustainability commitment to the next level, setting industry-wide goals on issues that cannot be tackled by individual tour operators alone.”