At the World Travel & Tourism Council 2015 Global Summit in Madrid, the NGO Sustainable Travel International unveiled an industry-wide campaign entitled “10 Million Better” to monitor and scale up social and environmental benefits from travel and tourism.
The 10-year initiative convenes leading tourism corporations, organizations and destinations around the globe with the goal of tracking and demonstrating improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people and their families by 2025. Improvements to be monitored include growth of income and opportunity, and better protection of destinations’ natural, cultural and heritage sites.
Sustainable Travel International announced the 10 Million Better campaign in a joint presentation at WTTC’s “Tourism for Tomorrow” awards event, entitled “Tourism for Tomorrow, Today: Launching the Next Decade’s Worth of Positive Impacts Starting Now.” It featured Dr. Louise Twining-Ward, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, Brian Mullis, chairman of the board and founder of Sustainable Travel International, and Inge Huijbrechts, vice-president Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. She is among the industry leaders serving as a campaign ambassador.
Other trend-setting ambassadors to the campaign include representatives of such leading travel companies as Delaware North, Intrepid Travel, and the Soneva Group. The campaign is also endorsed by Sustainable Travel Leadership Network and Sustainable Destination Leadership Network, two Sustainable Travel International-convened collaborations which represent leading brands committed to advancing the industry’s sustainability efforts, including Globus, Finnair, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, United Airlines and others.
“Collectively, our industry has the power to influence the protection of the environment, promotion of economic equality and preservation of the social well-being and cultural traditions of communities around the globe,” said Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Co-CEO of the global hospitality and entertainment group Delaware North Companies, Inc. “Not only do we believe that acting responsibly on behalf of the environment and communities is the right way forward, from our perspective it’s the only way forward. We’re wholly committed to ensuring travel and tourism continues to do better by our world.”
“There is a new readiness and urgency to act together,” said Sustainable Travel International’s Twining-Ward. “For the first time the tourism sector has a UN Mandate to act. A big shift is now needed towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. The time is now for the industry to come together with a clear vision and focus its enormous economic power on solid goals and metrics for improving lives.”
Travel and tourism is the world’s leading economic driver, representing 9.5% of the global economy and generating 1.1 billion arrivals last year and one out of 11 jobs worldwide. It’s poised for explosive growth over the next decade, and represents vast resources for improving lives and generating livelihoods globally while protecting places and the planet.
Sustainable travel and tourism are growing especially fast, but so are the industry’s energy, water, land and food use and its environmental, climate and social impacts. As a result, the business imperative to tackle sustainability issues and the stakes of sustainability-related risks are intense.
Adverse impacts from unmanaged growth can include overcrowding, pollution, biodiversity loss, cultural homogenization and increased economic inequality. But if properly planned and responsibly executed, tourism can also powerfully incentivize protection of natural and cultural resources and enable destinations to prosper.
The new campaign aims to help, in part by creating and distributing an accessible, open-source impact monitoring tool which companies and destinations can help develop. It is designed to overcome existing barriers to monitoring and reporting, and balance data relevance with technical feasibility and financial viability.