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Can we go on holiday sustainably?

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia

Tourism is one of the most fraught areas of consumption for the sustainably minded and is a classic case of how much carrot and stick is needed between regulators and suppliers as well as how much interaction between those suppliers and their customers can lead to change.

Until now, just about the only memorable change we have seen long-term has been the move by most hotels to reduce their environmental footprint by removing a certain amount of their complementary single use bathroom items and encouraging less laundry. This is though a great way to start in so many businesses precisely because it makes business, not just environmental sense. Part of the problem some industries face is rowing back on the “freebies” embedded in the consumer mindset by providers in a less well -informed age.

In more modern times we have had more serious discussion about transport options, with the aviation sector still a long way from sustainability.

It is extremely difficult to expect or accept the reduction in lifestyle that sustainable travel currently demands. But, as with so many areas, steps are moving in the right direction. At COP26 the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism was made and over 500 travel businesses are now signed up to the World Tourism Organization initiative under the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.

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