Travel industry guilty of “unsustainability”

Expert: “Of all industries, tourism is the guiltiest of green wash”

In the “HOTseat” for a discussion to coincide with World Responsible Tourism Day at this year’s World Travel Market, Leo Hickman, journalist and author of “The Final Call”, which examines the trade’s attitudes to responsible tourism and sustainability, said that the travel industry has to become more forward thinking if it is to survive. In the discussion, chaired by the BBC’s Steven Sackur, Hickman said: “If the industry is to preserve itself it has to protect the people and the natural habitats in the destinations.”
With the industry predicted to explode in numbers as the Chinese and Indian markets emerge, Hickman said the industry must be better prepared to cope with large numbers: “The industry needs to be more honest with itself; there are some very potent examples of bad practice.” Sustainable travel and responsible tourism schemes are not always effective. “Of all the industries that I’ve studied, tourism is the guiltiest of green wash,” he said. When invited on exotic fam-trips, journalists and agents think it is hard for them to be critical. “If you pick up any of the travel supplements, newspapers or travel magazines it is simply advertorial.”
[photo courtesy WTM]