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ABTA launches ‘Tourism for Good’ report on sustainable future travel

ABTA has launched the ‘Tourism for Good – A Roadmap for Rebuilding Travel and Tourism’ report as a strategic framework as a strategic framework for ABTA’s ongoing work on sustainability as the tourism industry seeks to reopen responsibly, in conjunction with industry stakeholders and the UK government.

A survey conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning, which was cited by ABTA, revealed that more than half the UK population (52%) believes that the travel industry should open in a greener way, as concern for the environmental impacts of travel escalates. The survey found that consumers are keen to know how their holidays benefit the people and places they visit; with research from 2020 revealing that half (49%) of the people, consider the sustainability credentials of their holiday provider to be essential while booking, compared to only a small fraction (a fifth of the population) a decade ago.

The report explains the importance of rebuilding a responsible and resilient tourism industry, that benefits all and sets out a series of nine core principles, as 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. The report outlines steps for addressing the biggest issues by decarbonising, cutting waste and water consumption, ensuring that local communities benefit from tourism, and that human rights and animal welfare is maintained.

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.

The report emphasises the value and contribution of domestic and international UK outbound tourism, in terms of job creation, livelihood opportunities and social benefits for local communities, as well as financial support for nature and wildlife conservation and preservation of cultural heritage. 

For certain destinations, such as the Maldives, Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, Greece, Spain and Portugal – which rely heavily on tourism  UK holidaymakers alone contribute more than 1% of the national GDP.

New research from CEBR (The economic importance of UK outbound tourism to the EU27+3 economies, 2020) 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 (Driving Growth: The economic value of outbound travel, ABTA, 2018).

Clare Jenkinson, head of sustainability, ABTA 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, ABTA – The Travel Association added, “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.”

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