Tour operators need to step up and make a positive impact with their holidays if they want future customers to continue booking with them, says the boss of G Adventures.
Brian Young, EMEA Managing Director at the adventure specialist, told a WTM London audience that the industry is seeing “more conscious travellers” following the pandemic.
“They want to know they’ll have an amazing holiday but are still doing good and having a positive impact on that destination and those people,” he said.
“Tour operators have to step up to make a positive impact. Rather than educating customers, the customers will expect it and want it as a given.
“There will be a turning point, with customers saying if you don’t do these things we won’t book with you.”
Richard Hammond, Founder at Green Traveller, said the move towards sustainable tourism is not yet being driven by consumers but boardrooms and investors are demanding it.
Peter Kruger, TUI’s Chief Strategy Officer, said sustainability is an opportunity rather than a threat, adding: “We want to offer better product to our customers and push customers towards better products.”
Guy Snelgar, Global Business Travel Director at Advantage Travel Partnership, said more corporate clients are booking fewer but longer trips, with sustainability in mind, so they can still meet clients but have a smaller carbon footprint.
More companies are insisting staff travel by rail on domestic routes rather than fly, he added.
Joss Croft, Chief Executive at Ukinbound, said his association had joined with other industry bodies such as ABTA to lobby government with one united voice.
He said such collaborations have been important for the associations’ members but also for the people involved as they had established support networks during a “truly terrible time”.
“We can’t predict the unpredictable and change is constant,” he said.
“My top tip is to look after yourself. People can talk about mental health now.