Travel bosses must encourage their clients to fly less to help slow down the heating of the planet.

That was the message from Tim Williamson, director of marketing at Responsible Travel, to delegates at Abta’s Travel Convention in Tokyo.

Williamson said a reduction in flying was key to limiting global warming, advising one out of every four flights needed to go.


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Williamson said time was of the essence and encouraged brands to “act now” rather than be forced to do so when relevant regulation comes into effect.

Williamson said: “We need to act now, we’ve not done nearly enough in the last 10 years on carbon.

“There’s no way round it and I can’t sugar coat this – we all need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less. Given I’m talking to travel companies that’s a difficult message but if we’re going to stop the planet heating above control a two degrees I can’t see how you do it without flying less.”

The audience was also told to forget offsets, which he described as a “very murky world” which wasn’t the answer to immediately helping the planet; and touted the idea of a carbon tax for the aviation sector.

Williamson’s Green Flying Duty would see APD become an carbon tax, raising rates enough to cut the number [of people] flying and using the money “to fund sustainable aviation”.

“This method is scalable and other countries could easily adopt it,” he added.

MoreFull coverage from Abta’s Travel Convention in Tokyo