BY, ARNELLE KENDALL
VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 27, 2017
Today marks World Tourism Day, observed annually on September 27 as a means of fostering awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its overall social, political, and economic value.
In 2017, the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, The Travel Corporation‘s (TTC) family of brands hopes to rally its industry partners around the issue of sustainable tourism.
“The international travel sector has the opportunity to play a lead role in shaping the future of sustainability,” says Brett Tollman, chief executive of TTC. “As one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting over 284 million jobs and generating 9.8% of global GDP, we can help to increase public appreciation of the environment and help to spread the word on the value of connecting with the unique cultures and communities of the world in a sustainable, respectful way, and keeping our respective footprints as small as possible.”
There’s little doubt that tourism has the potential and the means to be a significant force for positive change. TTC’s own brands are committed to sustainability in numerous ways, from the recycling program at Red Carnation Hotels, to the ME to WE immersive volunteer trips, which allow guests to contribute to sustainable development work. And TTC’s not-for-profit foundation, TreadRight, has supported more than 40 sustainable tourism initiatives worldwide over the last 10 years, such as WildAid’s efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade, and the Village Weavers Project in Laos. However, it has become increasingly evident in recent years that individual organizations can only do so much.
“The industry needs to come together as a whole to do more, to make the economic case for sustainable tourism, and follow the example set by the Paris Agreement, which aligns myriad competing entities under a shared goal of sustainability,” Tollman says. “If we are to effect necessary change, we must do so collectively. Not simply to ensure that this beautiful planet can continue to provide us with the unforgettable experiences, but to stand as part of an industry community that recognizes that this is bigger than any single organization.”
“There may very well be no industry with more opportunity to affect the positive transformation of the planet than the travel and tourism industry,” he continued. “Travel can help people see the fragile beauty of our planet, travel can help influence the decision makers. If the travel industry can move the world the way we move people around the world, then our influence can be incredible. But we have to act now, and we have to act together.”