The travel industry has been called upon to scale up its Responsible Tourism efforts at the launch of World Responsible Tourism Day at World Travel Market, the global event for the travel industry.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, told delegates that now was the time to be “brave and innovative” with business as usual no longer enough.
The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent charity which works to ensure farmers get a decent price for their produce.
Lamb has been at the helm of the foundation for a decade and advised businesses to start by looking at themselves.
“When we started, people laughed in our faces and said the public didn’t care. Now, we work across 80 countries. If we were a grocery brand we would be second only Coca Cola. If we were a supermarket we would be up there in the top 10.”
She added that there were many reasons for businesses to participate in responsible tourism practises, and cited companies such as Sainsburys, who have seen double digit growth when they switched to Fair Trade products.
“We all know it is the right thing to do to end poverty through charity and finding new business models. Companies are also engaging in it because the model works. Why? Because, people care and the public is saying loud and clear that they expect you to give back to the communities you depend on. These are the same people who go on your holidays.”
Lamb also said responsible tourism will pay off for clever companies who take the initiative now in terms of the bottom line and the image of the company.
“Companies are investing because they know it is the only way to build a long-term sustainable future for their businesses.”