Most countries have dropped quarantine restrictions for vaccinated travellers means the world is opening up in a way it hasn’t in quite some time. The COVID-19 recovery presents an opportunity to reset and refocus, on Travel & Tourism. Travel & Tourism can make directly and indirectly contributions to the fulfillment of all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability acts as a strategic driver for Travel & Tourism, with sustainability leadership as a key business attribute. On the other side, there are concerns about the negative impacts the sector can have on both local communities and the planet.
At the same time, Travel & Tourism has enormous potential to educate the traveller, increase social capital and appreciation of diversity, and create meaningful employment that can alleviate poverty and promote economic inclusion. This can support the long-term resilience of the sector and enable it to make its fullest contribution to sustainable development.
Brundtland’s definition of sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Travel & Tourism requires a major shift from incentives toward protecting and restoring natural systems, and a radical reorganisation of technological, economic, and social systems.
Travellers use water, food, and energy and of course, tourism generates waste in destinations, with a displaced negative burden experienced in the most fragile places on the planet. By educating the travellers, to make optimal use of resources, maintain essential ecological processes and help to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity respect the values and customs of host communities, conserve their built and living heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing benefits equitably to all stakeholders, including employment and contributing to poverty, will address the challenge.
Embracing sustainable Travel & Tourism will require collective action to protect people and the planet over the long term. To resolve the dynamic tensions between profit and sustainability, leaders will need to welcome transformational change, integrating it strategically. Sustainability leadership can empower people, enhance productivity, and sustainably drive organizational innovation in times of high uncertainty. In this way, the sector can create and sustain shared value, making its fullest contribution to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals and “a world where no one will be left behind”.
Travel opens our hearts and minds and makes an impact on the world around us. Now People shift their minds and want their travels to benefit the environment and local communities as much as going on a great getaway benefits them.
This can support the long-term resilience of the sector and enable it to make its fullest contribution to sustainable development to help drive change in the sector by co-creating educational content to help actions for sustainable development with stronger commitments.