The world’s biggest travel and tourism industry is at the crossroads.
As climate change worsens, the global travel industry is also at the brink of an unprecedented shift.
With millions of people living in cities, the question is: How do we adapt to this unprecedented situation?
That’s what the travel trade association of the world’s major travel destinations is asking, as it launches a new set of sustainability priorities that could reshape how travel is done.
“We have a real opportunity to be a sustainable business, because we are so big and the world is so interconnected,” said Kristin Hurd, vice president of business development at the Travel Industry Association, or TIA, which represents major international travel companies.
“This is going to be the first time that the world has an opportunity to really take the opportunity to look at how we’re going to make the world a more sustainable place.”
A global threat?
It is hard to ignore the climate-related threat posed by rising sea levels and more frequent droughts.
But the issue is so acute, it has sparked a flurry of discussions among business leaders about how to deal with the challenges and risks associated with adapting to these changing conditions.
The TIA is calling for a more holistic approach to how the travel sector adapts to climate impacts and is recommending that major travel brands “imagine and plan to mitigate” these challenges, including through “planning for, implementing and managing climate-driven change mitigation efforts.”
For example, it wants brands to rethink their sustainability initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and focus on “how to build sustainable, high-performance systems that address climate impacts in a manner that will promote business efficiency, growth, and the overall health of the economy.”
The industry association also wants the U.S. government to create a new government climate change initiative, which would set goals for the industry, which has more than 20,000 employees.
The group also wants governments to establish a “Climate Change Action Plan for the U: The Global Travel Industry,” which would lay out strategies for responding to climate challenges, and establish new policies that would help the industry adapt to climate risks.
“If the industry doesn’t change its approach, the industry’s future is going down the drain,” Hurd said.
The focus of the new sustainability initiatives is not just on how to avoid future climate challenges.
It’s also how to prepare for and prepare for climate impacts now, said Daniel DeCarlo, senior vice president at the travel advocacy group World Travel Council.
He noted that in the past decade, the travel business has shifted from its traditional focus on promoting sustainable travel to developing “a new model” that will help it remain “green” and “green-friendly” while also offering a “green culture.”
DeCarbo noted that as the world experiences more extreme weather, the need to adapt is becoming more urgent.
In his experience, many companies are struggling to stay on top of climate-change risks.
When he and other business leaders hosted a workshop last year to address this issue, “a lot of people were looking for solutions,” DeCaro said.
“That was really refreshing.
There was a lot of clarity on how things are going to work.”
DePace, the executive director of the travel agency Expedia, agrees.
“The industry has been in this position for a long time, and it’s a very challenging time,” DePacy said.
He said that he thinks there are two ways to approach climate change.
One is to simply be “green,” meaning taking steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which have a significant impact on climate change, he said.
But DePady also said that the industry needs a better understanding of the impacts of climate change and how they will impact its business model.
The second is to think about how climate change will affect the business of the future, he added.
“It is the most dynamic time in history,” DeCarmo said, and “it is going the way of our species.
If we can’t make a smart business decision, then we are doomed to fail.”
As the world deals with climate change threats, the companies are starting to realize that the only way to stay competitive is to adapt, he noted.
DePacco added that the travel travel industry has a “global vision,” but he thinks the focus is on what is happening now, and how to stay ahead of the curve.
He cited the example of Expedia’s plan to “transform” its business from a service-based business to a global brand.
“A lot of the people that are really focused on that [global vision] are the people at Expedia,” DeCapola said.
And it is that focus on the future that will ensure the company is “green enough to survive and thrive.”
The world is changing, too The climate change discussion is not unique to the U, and some major