Every November World Travel Market draws tourism professionals from across the globe to four days of networking and debates at London’s Excel centre. Responsible travel has long been at the heart of the programme. JEREMY SMITH, who writes a fortnightly blog for WTM on sustainability issues, outlines this year’s hot topics.
The key focus for WTM 2015′s responsible travel programme is climate change. This year is set to be the hottest on record, and there’s a vital UN meeting taking place the same month in Paris in a further effort to establish global agreement on what should be done. Climate change had to be the centrepiece this year.
Over the programme’s four days there will be a range of events relating to tourism and carbon. Headlining these is the keynote speech from Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He engages widely across all tiers of government; reports on aviation-related emissions to the EU Parliament, and advises the Prime Minister’s office on Carbon Trading. He’s known for keeping no holds barred in his talks.
As well as his speech, the central debate features high level representatives from major hotel brands, the aviation industry, ABTA and various NGOs, all seeking to answer the question: “is the travel and tourism industry doing enough to address climate change?”
The possible answers to this issue will be explored further by a panel of travel and sustainability experts in a session that looks at what can be done to make the industry more efficient. They’ll be discussing approaches ranging from carbon offsetting to the development of more sustainable hotels.
The other major focus for 2015 is on how the industry better manages travel and tourism so that the most popular destinations do not suffocate under the weight of visitors they attract. There have been several stories in the news this year where the likes of Barcelona have sought to impose stringent measures to limit ever-escalating visitor numbers. WTM be discussing this issue with representatives from Barcelona, Venice and others.
World Travel Market takes places November 2-5. It is open to pre-registered travel industry professionals only but blogs and recordings of the debates about responsible travel are available at: