Wednesday, September 27, 2023
The organisers of WTM London 2023 – the world’s most influential travel & tourism event – are celebrating World Tourism Day by shining a spotlight on sustainability in the sector.
World Tourism Day is an annual UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) initiative to highlight ways the sector can help countries make progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals – the UN roadmap for a better world by 2030.
This year, World Tourism Day (September 27) has the theme of “Tourism and green investment”, with an emphasis on investing in three key areas: education, sustainable infrastructure and technology.
To highlight the importance of sustainability in tourism, WTM London has announced details of its sustainability sessions across all three days, which will include the Sustainability Summit on Day Three.
The first Summit session is entitled ‘Where Next? Reimagining Tourism in a Constantly Changing Climate’. The debate will ask questions such as “What should good tourism look like as the climate and biodiversity crises keep getting worse?”; “How can we keep selling holidays and avoid greenwash?” and “Do we need to tell a new story?”
The discussion will be moderated by Jeremy Smith, who co-founded Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency in 2020 – the first grassroots global initiative that brings together tourism destinations and businesses to work together on climate action.
Other sessions during the Summit will ask how the tourism sector can provide more sustainable holidays and explore greener transport options in Europe, such as rail travel.
Experts leading these debates will include Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor; Ruth Wright, Euronews Travel Managing Editor; Carlos Abade, Chairman, VisitPortugal; Martin Brackenbury, Advisor to UNWTO; Sacha Dench, CEO & Ambassador for the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species; and Vincent Nijs, Chief Strategist, Visit Flanders.
Speakers at the green transport session will be Paloma Zapata, CEO at Sustainable Travel International, Björn Bender, CEO at Rail Europe and José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Committee of Transport and Tourism, European Parliament.
Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director at World Travel Market London, said:
“Sustainability is the cornerstone of tourism development. Investing in sustainable infrastructure and green policies across our sector is now more critical than ever.
“Some of the extreme weather events we’ve seen this year, such as wildfires and destructive storms, highlight the urgency for action to limit emissions and to integrate sustainable and responsible measures at every stage of tourism development projects.
“Sustainability is one of the key tracks for our agenda at WTM London 2023, which means there will be several sessions throughout each day, culminating in the Summit on Day Three.
“Travel has the power to change the world and through our influential debates with leading experts, our delegates will understand how they have the power to change travel.”
This year’s conversation at the Sustainability Summit will align with the overall World Travel Market campaign around the Power to Change, with a big focus on sustainability, diversity, and inclusion.
The sustainability discussions begin on Day One of WTM London on the Discover Stage, with sessions that will highlight success stories from around the world and explore how tourist boards and tour operators are adapting to new green regulations and consumer trends.
On Day Two, Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor and Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership, will lead the debate across six sessions on the Innovate Stage.
The discussions will ask why responsible tourism makes business sense and examine the issues of “greenwashing” – then delve deeper into areas such as aviation, technology and over tourism.
“The sustainability sessions and the Sustainability Summit will offer a unique platform for stakeholders to come together, exchange ideas and forge innovative solutions that will contribute to shaping the drive to greater sustainability in the tourism sector, fostering prosperity and responsible growth for all.
“With investment in sustainable infrastructure being a key pillar of World Tourism Day, I’m delighted to take this opportunity to announce details of our sustainability sessions and the Sustainability Summit.
“WTM London is where tourism professionals come together to play their part in the global conversation to create new futures.”