A quarter of travel executives say sustainability is top priority

More than a quarter of travel professionals (27%) say sustainability is their number one priority, with a further 43% saying it was in the top three.

The findings come from WTM London research among almost 700 industry executives from around the globe, as well as 1,000 UK travellers.

Around one in five (22%) industry professionals say they are aware of sustainability’s importance but do not rank it in the top three.

Just 7% admitted it was not currently part of their business thinking.

The findings are revealed as world leaders meet in Glasgow for Cop26, the United Nations’ annual climate change conference.

WTM London has been at the forefront of sustainable tourism for several years and has held a dedicated programme for responsible tourism at every event since 1994.

The survey of 1,000 British travellers found that four in 10 claim to have used carbon offsetting – 8% said they offset every flight, with 15% doing so most of the time, 16% some of the time.

However, the remaining 24% replied that they did not even know what carbon offsetting means.

Furthermore, 78% attached some level of importance to the environment and sustainability. About one in five (18%) said the issues were extremely important, almost one in four (23%) opted for quite important; and just over a third (38%) describe these issues as “somewhat important”.

Simon Press, exhibition director at WTM London, said: “While we are proud of WTM’s decades-long efforts to lead the debate around sustainable and responsible tourism, we are not complacent.

“These findings show that we still have some way to get the industry fully on board with our vision for a sustainable and responsible tourism future.

“If anything, we need to shout even louder. The climate emergency is not going away and the need to stop the planet warming up is critical. But the travel industry also needs to be active in promoting diversity, inclusivity and the economic benefits if we want the travelling public, governments and regulators to see travel and tourism as a force for good, rather than something to be targeted and taxed.

“Cop26, taking place at the same time as WTM London, will bring sustainability to the top of the news agenda, and the travel industry needs convert this interest into action.”

WTM London takes place on November 1-3.

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