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World Travel & Tourism Council to call for improved environmental sustainability in tourism

World Travel & Tourism Council to call for improved environmental sustainability in tourism
April 9, 2013

The global tourism industry must balance the needs of 'people, planet and profits' and consider the consumption of resources and possible impacts on society and the wider world. That will be the strong message from world-renowned environmental speakers to more than 800 senior private and public executives from the global tourism industry at the World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC's) Global Summit being held in Abu Dhabi on 9th and 10th April.

The Global Summit at the Jumeirah at Eithad Towers will include a keynote address from President Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States.

Speakers including Daryl Hannah, American actress and activist; Jonathan Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future; David de Rothschild, adventurer and environmentalist; Laura Turner Seydel, Captain Planet Foundation; Costas Christ, Chairman of the Judges, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and Dr Christoph Weber, Chief Executive of biofuels company JATRO will be among the other speakers.

These, and other speakers, will be discussing what thetourism can do to ensure it iimpacts natural and cultural environments in a positive way, provides benefits to all sectors of society, attracts and develops a skilled workforce to support growing demand, stimulates consumer demand for sustainable products and uses the latest technology to find innovative solutions to future challenges.

WTTC President and Chief Executive David Scowsill explains "there are many great examples of companies developing initiatives to respond to sustainability issues.

"However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Economic crises and global uncertainty are creating pressures to focus on short-term concerns at the cost of a long-term approach to company success.

"Tourism for Tomorrow goes beyond the 'green' agenda and, instead, is a holistic vision for the sustainable development of Travel & Tourism into the future. The industry needs to raise the bar on the issue and set a clear path. Industry activities need to be centred around the four key principles of accountability, leadership, innovation, and collaboration.

"Our discussions at the Global Summit will help to bring the industry together to speak with one voice and recognise a common outlook. Through collaboration, the industry can amplify its individual efforts by taking advantage of shared knowledge and industry efficiency."

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which is hosting the Summit along with Etihad Airways, the UAE's national carrier, says a sustainable tourism industry is at the heart of the Emirate's tourism strategy.

TCA Abu Dhabi Director General Mubarak Al Muhairi adds "the quest for sustainability is part of the Authority's DNA and is evidenced by our industry-wide EHSMS programme which has seen significant reductions in water, power and waste savings across the destination's hospitality sector, our Green Hotel guidelines and our ongoing efforts to foster tourism career opportunities for Emiratis via initiatives such as our Tourism Youth Summer Camp and the Abu Dhabi Ambassador programme."

For Tourism for Tomorrow to be realised, WTTC believes the industry must:

Be accountable – Industry should take responsibility for their impacts, measure and monitor them accordingly and report these impacts openly to ensure transparency.

Show leadership – Companies should be public about their sustainability commitments, from CEO and Board level downwards, while encouraging high standards as a normal part of doing business and delivering solid projects on the ground to drive change

Stimulate investment – By integrating and committing investment in sustainable solutions into companies' long term strategies, while still leveraging other investment avenues like public funds, the industry can ensure that solutions are developed and magnified.

Collaborate - Businesses should identify new partners and ways of collaborating while expanding their networks and speaking with 'one voice' on sustainability issues

The Summit will also be an opportunity to recognise tourism businesses, which are flying the flag for sustainable practices with the presentation of the WTTC's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

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