Travel Counsellors Andy La Gette

Promoting sustainable travel

Andy La Gette from Travel Counsellors says how agents can push for sustainable travel in the industry.

The Travel industry seems to have become “ethical” and “sustainable” in the last couple of years. I wonder how many are tickboxing and flag-waving for effect, and how many are actually taking this seriously?

I was once told that “we don’t inherit this world from our parents, we borrow it from our children”. If we believe this, we need to ensure that we pursue sustainability from our roots. It needs to be a cultural adoption that leaves no room for laziness. No more of the target-driven “Wolf of Wall Street” organisations of the recent past, with battery-hen callcentres playing the numbers games with endless incoming calls. The market has changed, and now demands the personal touch. We need to do things right, and we need to do it now.

Sustainable travel evokes all kinds of concepts that demand mass-adoption to make a difference. It can be daunting to make the change and take the first step – but what choice do we have? Recycling, eliminating plastic waste, planting trees, animal conservation, removing carbon emissions, reducing water wastage. Let’s get behind the hoteliers, airlines and tour operators that have started to take the first steps.

Travel agents have the power to influence travel decisions for the entire market. The corporate and leisure clientele select items from our travel menu – so as the head chefs, we have to pick our ingredients with greater responsibility. Let sustainable partners be the new superfoods. Make the tough decisions around the contracting table. Forge relationships with DMC partners who give back to local communities. Don’t be afraid to discuss why some elephant camps are dreadful and others deserve support. Champion cruise lines that are carbon neutral or who have the foresight to fuel their ships with dead fish. Our buy-in starts now. 


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