The Travel Association, ABTA, has published a new report which sets out how the devastating impact of the global pandemic has brought into relief the value of tourism to holidaymakers, the UK and destinations.
Entitled: ‘Tourism for Good – A Roadmap for Rebuilding Travel and Tourism’, the report explains how it is imperative to purposefully rebuild a more responsible and resilient tourism industry that benefits all those involved – and provides a framework for collaborative action to build better places to live in and better places to visit.
There is clear consumer demand for the industry to embrace sustainability on its path to recovery, with new figures revealing that more than half of people (52%) believe that the travel industry should open in a greener way. Consumers have been increasingly keen to know that their holidays benefit the people and places they visit, with research from 2020 revealing that half (49%) consider the sustainability credentials of their holiday provider to be important or essential when choosing which company to book with, compared to only a fifth back in 2011.
Central to the report is the belief that travel and tourism is a powerful force for good; being both physically and mentally restorative for holidaymakers while also generating significant economic, employment and social benefits in the UK and around the world. It also acknowledges the challenges that the sector faces, including the need to accelerate decarbonisation and to ensure that tourism generates greater benefits for destinations and local communities.
The report emphasizes the huge value and contribution of UK outbound tourism, both domestically and internationally, in terms of job creation, livelihood opportunities, social benefits for local communities, support and funding for nature and wildlife conservation and cultural heritage protection. New research from CEBR shows that the aggregate global GVA (gross value added) of UK outbound tourism is estimated at $81.4 billion and supports 2.7 million jobs, while in the UK it generates £37 billion (1.8% of GDP) in aggregate economic impact and 526,000 full-time equivalent jobs. For certain destinations – The Maldives, Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, Greece, Spain and Portugal – which rely heavily on tourism already, UK holidaymakers alone make a marked contribution of more than 1% of national GDP.
The report also acknowledges the challenges faced by the sector, and, through case studies and examples, outlines how the industry is taking steps to address its biggest issues by decarbonising, cutting waste and water consumption, ensuring that local people benefit from tourism, respecting human rights and managing animal welfare. Due to the global nature of these challenges, the report highlights that there is more to be done, with the best outcomes being achieved through a concerted worldwide approach and a willingness to share and learn across the industry.
Underpinned by a series of nine core principles, the ‘Tourism for Good’ report sets out a roadmap to guide ABTA’s commitment to working with its Members, their suppliers, destination authorities, travellers and the wider travel industry. It also calls on the UK Government to support tourism’s contribution to economic development and employment, deliver the necessary policies to encourage transport providers to transition to greener technologies, and to help consumers to transition to low-carbon transport.
In order to accurately track the progress being made, ABTA has launched a sustainability indicator survey for its Members to complete which will establish a baseline of how the travel and tourism industry is currently embracing sustainability. The findings will be used to identify the areas where progress is being made and the areas that require more focus.
Clare Jenkinson, Head of Sustainability at ABTA – The Travel Association said:
“Building on ABTA’s longstanding work on sustainability, the ‘Tourism for Good’ report is designed to act as a strategic framework to guide our activities as the industry reopens and evolves. The core principles include, for example, the need for tourism to be sustainable and resilient against future shocks, for policies and actions to be designed in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the urgent need to accelerate decarbonisation. We commit to measuring the progress that is being made and identifying the areas where more work needs to be done.”
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:
“Tourism’s unexpected standstill has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on the type of industry we want to rebuild, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good. I believe the future prosperity of the industry depends on putting sustainability at the heart of our recovery. This report therefore underlines ABTA’s commitment to working with our Members, the wider travel industry, and the UK Government to create a more sustainable industry that allows everyone a share in its success.”
The findings are from research with nationally representative sample of 2,000 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2020. Fieldwork was conducted in the last two weeks of August 2020 and was conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning.