One of the world’s leading luxury travel networks has picked out sustainable tourism as a “key trend” at its 24th annual Travel Week.
Styled as the luxury travel industry’s answer to the world-renowned Fashion Week, Virtuoso’s event took place from August 11-17, and brought together dozens of high-calibre travel providers from around the globe.
And sustainable tourism – an increasingly popular movement that aims to lay out new ways of experiencing the many wonders of the world – emerged as one of the week’s focal points.
“With more than 340 member agencies in 20 countries and relationships with 1,300 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations, Virtuoso is perfectly positioned to determine what will attract and interest travellers“, said Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso.
“Just as Fashion Week is followed by the fashion industry and consumers alike, Virtuoso Travel Week is poised to become the same driving force for the travel industry.
“This week several of our travel providers shared exciting announcements, combined with some interesting statistics and insight from Virtuoso as well.”
A recent report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) described the importance of tourism more generally, saying it promotes “awareness and understanding among different cultures, breeds a unique informal sector, [and] helps to save the environment”.
It added that the tourism industry is directly linked with economic and social development worldwide, meaning a more sustainable sector is vital.
In Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Tourism, which was published in May, Chris Breen, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operator’s (AITO) sustainable tourism committee, spoke about the trends becoming prominent in the public’s awareness of sustainable tourism and called on airlines to make significant changes.
“Sustainable tourism is increasingly spoken about by journalists and as it permeates the media, there seems to be an increased desire from people travelling overseas to ensure that they are doing it the right way”, he said.
“I’m a great advocate of travelling overseas, not only because I run a travel company, but also because it’s enormous fun and educational. Meeting people in new places is one of life’s great privileges.
“But for many destinations, people will have to fly, which has carbon emission implications and how horrendous that can be for the environment, so pressure needs to be applied to airlines to improve what they operate.
“Airlines are consequently starting to talk about the types of fuel that they are using or developing to make air travel a more sustainable option.”
Experts at Virtuoso’s Travel Week picked out a number of areas from all over the world that were viewed as must-sees in terms of travel. These included regions in Bhutan, Mexico and Ecuador.
A recent feature on B> explored whether sustainable tourism was a passing fad or a way of life. Judging by the major trend that was displayed by the luxury travel industry last week, it’s almost certain that it’s the latter.