The global tourism industry must operate to the highest standards to prove that it is a force for good and not a force for destruction.
That is according to World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill, who made the argument in his closing speech at the WTTC Global Summit in Hainan, China.
Scowsill is calling on the sector to demonstrate leadership and accountability.
He explained: “The tourism industry needs to report and communicate the benefits and value it brings and ensure that it genuinely embraces a Tourism for Tomorrow.
“Standards of ethics and sustainability must be of the highest order.
“We need to work in true partnership with governments - when they listen - and with our local communities and stakeholders.
“We must also engage with our staff, our customers and our consumers.”
Subjects discussed at the WTTC Global Summit have included volatility and unpredictability, climate change and disaster recovery, infrastructure planning and sustainability, growth and jobs, peace and prosperity, collaboration and co-operation and culture and understanding.
Scowsill continued: “We have a responsibility for the one billion travellers each year on our planet and another billion soon; for the plight of those affected by disasters, whether through natural disaster or man-made conflict and for the careful preservation of resources and protection of the planet.
“And we also have the responsibility to provide millions of quality jobs to people, who are seeking fulfilment and quality of life through employment, training, opportunities and careers.
“And we must not forget that we have to satisfy the markets and investors, who quite properly and responsibly seek returns for the huge investment that will be needed.
“If we can take care of all these responsibilities, then we will become the greatest industry on earth and a true Force for Good.”
Scowsill explained, however, that there is currently a vacuum in global leadership and the Industry needs to play its part.
He concluded: “National governments and global institutions are increasingly struggling to tackle many of the issues, which we’ve been discussing over the last two days.
“Governments do not always recognise our contribution at the table.
“As an industry, we need to become more vocal and more sophisticated in our co-ordination and articulation of our agenda going forward, if we are to succeed.
“The enormous infrastructure that the massive growth in travel will require will only happen through consensus, collaboration and co-operation.
“WTTC commits to representing our industry in these capacities to make change happen.”