Sustainable and ethical travel is changing the face of the tourism industry, which is worth around 7 trillion euros. As more countries embrace these trends there is so much more choice for the conscientious traveller.
These were among the hot topics discussed at the World Travel Market 2018 in London. It’s the leading global event for the tourism industry with over 5000 exhibitors and 51,000 visitors.
Sustainable tourism – the ability to make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy – goes hand in hand with ethical tourism according to Rashmi Verma, Indian Ministry of Tourism Secretary. She said, “The traveller nowadays is very discerning and they want the ethics part of it also maintained and looked into. A lot of focus is being given to that and they want more and more participation of the local community, they don’t want the local people to be exploited.” She added, “responsible tourism is becoming very, very important.”
It’s something that also resonates with the Mauritian Minister for Tourism, Anil Gayan, who told Euronews, “No tourism industry can be sustainable without involving the whole community. No tourism can succeed unless it is friendly to the environment. So we protect the environment, protect the local communities.”
Japan is experiencing an unprecedented travel boom. The country hosts the Rugby World Cup next year which will bring in an estimated 1.8million spectators and add just under 2 billion Euros to the Japanese economy. Those visiting will also be encouraged to explore alternative destinations off the beaten track in a bid to embrace and support sustainable and ethical travel.
And, as the Egyptian government provides new investment opportunities for its travel industry, and looks at diversifying its tourist base - it’s also doing what it can to encourage responsible tourism. It’s launching a new programme that will ensure that every reform they undertake in the future is consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. “Everyone today is more environmentally cautious”, said Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister for Tourism. “So when it comes to women empowerment, when it comes to trying to end poverty, when it comes to creating communities around the places where people visit all of these are very important pillars that we are going to try and achieve,” she added.