WTTC chief seeks common front for industry’s collective sustainability

Posted: June 21, 2012 in travel & tourism

The travel and tourism industry must act together and speak with one voice to create a green future, according to Helen Marano, the Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) at the just-concluded Rio+20 Summit in Brazil.

WTTC, which runs the industry-leading Tourism for Tomorrow Awards each year, recognizes that the business imperative for sustainability is no longer deniable; that companies are moving beyond focusing on cost-saving efficiencies to adopting a new sustainable business equation, which balances “people, planet and profits.”

Marano, who moderating a panel discussion at the “Tourism for Tomorrow’s Green Economy” event, Monday, during the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum, said that more needs to be done across sectors and across borders

“Although the industry has gone quite a long way in moving towards more sustainable approaches, we still need to work on mainstreaming sustainability. And as a leading global industry, we are well placed to raise the bar further.

“The industry’s core products are substantially linked to the preservation of natural resources, cultural heritage, and people. Travel and tourism, as one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, generates more than 9 percent of global GDP, supports 255 million jobs, and continues to grow by around 4 percent a year. The industry, therefore, has the global opportunity but also the responsibility to show leadership – and steer green growth.

“We need to focus on a sustainable long-term future and facilitate transparency and accountability within the industry by developing common industry approaches to common problems such as the WTTC/International Tourism Partnership Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative launched last week. This initiative is a powerful example of industry collaboration where the 23 leading hotels worked together to develop a common methodology to measure and communicate carbon emissions for a meeting and hotel stay. The industry needs to encourage innovative partnerships like this, as well as foster entrepreneurship opportunities and innovative thinking which promote sustainable solutions.

“[The] travel and tourism industry must seek and foster collaborations at all levels, especially with the public sector. We need to present ‘one voice’ on sustainability issues, especially in the national and international policy arena, and work with each other and governments to achieve mutually beneficial goals,” she summed up.

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