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WTM Panel Session to Open World Responsible Tourism Day

WTM Panel Session to Open World Responsible Tourism Day

World Travel Market has assembled a high-level headline panel, including TUI Travel Deputy Chief Executive Johan Lundgren, to discuss the thorny issue of carbon emissions in the travel industry. WTM_WRTD+DATE_2013_onwhite

TUI is one of the largest leisure companies, operating in 180 countries with more than 30 million customers in 31 key source markets. The size and scale of TUI’s operation giving Lundgren a great insight into the global industry’s carbon emissions.

Furthermore, he has worked in the industry for more than 26 years, including a number of senior roles at TUI Travel, which is Europe’s largest tour operator.

The Round Table on Travel & Tourism and Carbon, which opens World Responsible Tourism Day on Wednesday 6th November, in Platinum Suites 3 & 4 also includes:

·         South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk

·         Jumeirah President and Group Chief Executive Gerald Lawless,

·         BBC World’s HARDtalk presenter Stephen Sackur (in the chair)

Van Schalkwyk, the former Minister of Environment, led the SA delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations for five years. Under his leadership, his department has introduced an internationally recognised National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism.

Lawless is also Vice Chairman of Corporate Governance of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a member of the Global Agenda Council for Aviation, Travel and Tourism of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai saw its Green Globe rating, global certification for sustainable tourism, rise to 90% following continued efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

The session will explore how such a fast-growing industry can claim to be responsible when it already contributes about 5% of global CO2 emissions, with air transport alone accounting for 40% of the sector’s emissions.

Summing up this conundrum, van Schalkwyk said earlier this year: “Tourism is both a vector and victim of climate change, in other words, tourism both contributes to and is affected by climate change. Therefore, doing nothing to tackle the challenges of climate change is not an option. The consequences of doing nothing will be devastating indeed, particularly because tourism is closely linked to the climate and environment itself.”

In 2008 the European Union decided to include aviation in its Emissions Trading System from 2012 and then in November 2012 deferred the requirement for airlines to surrender emission allowances for flights into and out of Europe until after the 2013 International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) General Assembly in September 2013. The price of carbon in the EU subsequently hit record lows due to an oversupply of credits and the number available has been reduced.

Simon Press, Reed Travel Exhibitions’ Senior Director, World Travel Market, said: “The travel and tourism industry is responsible for 2% of all global carbon emissions, so understands it has a responsibility to limit the damage it can cause the environment.

“Both van Schalkwyk and Lawless are two of the industry’s most pre-eminent individuals when it comes to discussing the industry’s carbon emissions, so their thoughts and opinions will be invaluable and insightful for WTM delegates. I am delighted that Johan Lundgren will also be sharing his considerable insight and expertise from years of working in the industry.”

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

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