The UK travel industry needs to cater better for a younger generation of holidaymakers who have a desire to take more risks but for whom sustainability is a key factor.
Speaking at WTM 2019 on the future of travel, travel bosses identified the importance of sustainability in travel over the next few years.
But Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said warned that the industry had yet to offer the product and services required by this new generation of younger clients.
She said: “If you take generation Z up to the millennials, there is a whole generation that will want something very different.
“They want experiences; they are taking risks, there is a whole market that we as an industry are not catering for and not moving quickly enough to cater for in some of our traditional destinations.
“We need to work with our hotels and destination partners to understand that change and what is required otherwise we will lost people on the way.”
She stressed the need for travel agents to be better educated on sustainability products in the market, such as a hotel’s sustainable policy.
EasyJet UK country manager Neil Slaven agreed the issue of sustainability was becoming increasingly important for younger travellers.
He said: “That generation of millennials require a clear approach to sustainability. One of the big things we expect is an increasing discussion around sustainability.”
Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director, UK, Ireland and Asia, Celebrity Cruises, said investment in reducing carbon emissions was a “major thrust” for the cruise line.
“There has been significant investment in reducing carbon emissions; we have set ourselves a significant emissions target. It’s our responsibility as an industry; we all have destination stewardship. It’s about how we make our footprint better than we arrived,” she said.
Caroline Bremner, head of travel at global research company Euromonitor, which has just produced its Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel 2019 report, added: “Schoolchildren are being educated about sustainable development. It feels like it is a time where attitudes are changing. If you give people a greener alternative, it will make them feel less guilty about travelling and the impact of their travel.”
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communication for Visit Britain, said: “I think sustainability will be one of the big issues for 2020. It’s about balancing the economics and minimising the impact to the environment.”