Aito think tank to tackle climate emergency

The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) has unveiled details of its new climate change think tank, which was first announced at last year’s conference in Poland.

Derek Moore, Aito council chairman, told today’s online Aito conference that the Covid crisis had delayed the launch of the initiative but the plans have been revived in recent weeks.

“Mindful of the global climate emergency, the Aito climate change think tank seeks to promote meaningful and sustainable travel,” said Moore.

It will work with business partners and government and engage with the aviation sector to help reduce carbon emissions.

He said the think tank has already started discussions with other trade bodies such as Lata, Pata and Bar UK – the Latin America Travel Association, Pacific Asia Travel Association and Board of Airline Representatives in the UK. This had helped identify MPs who may support their case in parliament.

“Growth in travel is very benefical for jobs and wealth creation but it generates harmful effects that our industry is starting to acknowledge, we can draw attention to these harmful effects, and foster improvements,” he said.

He highlighted how frequent flyers are just 1% of the world’s population but are responsible for half of the emissions from aviation.

Running alongside the work of the think tank, Aito’s sustainable tourism committee will continue its progress on issues such as animal welfare, single-use plastic, human rights and carbon measurements.

Prue Stone, head of sustainability at Explore, is the new chair of the sustainable tourism committee and urged Aito members to use the association’s toolkits to tackle these problems.

“I think there will be a big shift from customers – they want to be outdoors more or do more walking or cycling; it comes back to concept of sustainability,” she said.

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