Tourism for Good: How to rebuild travel and tourism
Transforming Vision Into Action - Oped
22 February 2020
In his guest post for Transforming One Planet Vision into Action, Mr. Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, the British Travel Association, shares his reflections on working towards a responsible recovery from COVID-19 for the tourism sector.
At ABTA we believe that travel and tourism is a powerful force for good: creating economic and social value, sustaining jobs, supporting businesses and boosting inward investment not only for destinations where many livelihoods depend on tourism, but also here in the UK, where it makes a significant contribution. Tourism will also increasingly play a unique and strategically important role in our global trade and diplomatic relationships.
As a sector we also face challenges, including the need to accelerate decarbonisation and to ensure that tourism generates greater benefits for the UK, destinations and local communities. We believe that the best way to make progress, and to maximise tourism’s benefits, is to do so together.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact around the world and is the travel industry’s biggest ever disruptor. The immediate focus for the industry is naturally on business survival and recovery. However, we must not lose sight of the urgent challenges that we faced before the pandemic and will continue to face.
The universal and global nature of the crisis has reminded us of how we and our world are interconnected, necessitating a concerted worldwide response and a willingness to share and learn from others. This experience should now shape how, as an industry, we approach the other common challenges we face.
Tourism’s unexpected standstill has given us a unique chance to reflect on the type of industry we want to rebuild. Future prosperity depends on putting sustainability at the heart of tourism’s recovery, in line with the recommendations of the One Planet Vision. This can only be achieved by operators, governments, destination managers, partners and communities working together. This is an opportunity to purposefully build back better for a responsible and resilient tourism industry, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good.
Building on ABTA’s long-standing work on sustainability, our recently launched report ‘Tourism for Good: A roadmap for rebuilding travel and tourism’ provides a framework to guide ABTA’s activities to support its commitment to continue to champion sustainability with its Members, the wider travel industry, destinations and customers, as well as ways in which this can be supported by policies and action by the UK Government.
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion.