Tourism leaders have been urged to “mainstream sustainability” as leading nations meet for the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil this week.
The industry must act together and speak with one voice to create a green future, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
The WTTC’s vice president of government and industry affairs Helen Marano told the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum that more needs to be done across sectors and borders.
“Although the industry has gone quite a long way in moving towards more sustainable approaches, we still need to work on mainstreaming sustainability,” she said. “And as a leading global industry, we are well placed to raise the bar further.
“The industry’s core products are substantially linked to the preservation of natural resources, cultural heritage and people.
"Travel and tourism, as one of the world’s fastest growing industries, generates more than 9% of global GDP, supports 255 million jobs, and continues to grow by around 4% a year.
"The industry therefore has the global opportunity but also the responsibility to show leadership – and steer green growth.”
Marano added: “We need to focus on a sustainable long-term future and facilitate transparency and accountability within the industry by developing common industry approaches to common problems.”
She cited the WTTC/International Tourism Partnership hotel carbon measurement initiative launched last week involving 23 leading hotels groups.
“The industry needs to encourage innovative partnerships like this as well as foster entrepreneurship opportunities and innovative thinking which promote sustainable solutions,” said Marano.
“The travel and tourism industry must seek and foster collaborations at all levels especially with the public sector.
"We need to present ‘one voice’ on sustainability issues especially in the national and international policy arena and work with each other and governments to achieve mutually beneficial goals.”
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