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Sustainable tourism drives discussion at Global Travel Summit

Many of the trends under discussion at this year’s Allianz Partners’ three-day virtual Global Travel Summit, in which more than 1000 people took part, make it clear that sustainable, or eco, tourism is an increasingly hot topic for prospective travellers.

Firstly, a working definition. According to international sustainable tourism organisation the Travel Foundation, sustainable tourism increases the industry’s benefits while reducing negative impacts. This is achieved by:

  • Protecting natural environments and resources.
  • Offering tourist experiences which support local culture and heritage.
  • Providing employment and other income-earning opportunities for local communities.

So it’s no surprise that climate change, the pandemic, geo-political instability and individual responsibility for the environmental impact of travel were uppermost in respondents’ minds in extensive research carried out by Allianz Partners’ Customer Lab and Foresight Factory ahead of the summit.

Key findings from the global survey of about 83,000 respondents include:

  • 60 per cent of families aged 25-40 say they would “pay more attention to the environmental impact of their travel in the future, compared to pre-pandemic”.
  • 56 per cent of families aged 25-40 are “intending to travel less in the future, further reducing their environmental footprint”.

Switching focus back to the summit and to the travel industry itself, Joe Mason, chief marketing officer of travel at Allianz Partners says: “At this year’s event, we heard about the emerging trends in the travel industry, and it’s clear that a strong travel recovery is being faced with a new set of challenges. Economic volatility, geo-political unrest, and a rising cost of living — coupled with a desire to make sustainable and eco-friendly choices — will all have a lasting impact on our industry.”

He explains that adapting to “this new travel landscape” is a priority for Allianz Partners. “We are helping our customers and partners navigate through these challenging times and are focused on turning travel insurance into full end-to-end travel protection and we’re excited about what the future holds,” he says.

Commenting on the Australian situation, Damien Arthur, regional head of travel product management and innovation for the Asia Pacific region, says that because travel restrictions have only recently been lifted here, we are still behind emerging trends elsewhere.

“As expected, the key motivation for international travel we’re seeing is for visiting friends and relatives,” he adds. “This is also driving longer trip durations. However with almost two years of closed borders, the travel ecosystem is playing catch-up, with airline capacity and capability quickly following the increased demand.

“With customers and governments gaining confidence that the risks associated with international travel can be managed, I expect we will see a wider choice of destinations and relaxed COVID-19 entry requirements which will support the continued rebound of leisure travel.”

Other topics covered during the summit included the effects of macroeconomic conditions on discretionary spending for travel and a reduction in business travel owing to alternatives such as remote working and virtual conferences.


Responsible Tourism Project

Tourism Australia yesterday (May 20) finished the first phase of its research project into the impact of tourism on the local environment, community and culture.

It asked Australian tourism operators to complete its responsible tourism survey by May 20, as part of the Responsible Tourism Project.

A spokesperson explains: “The feedback will help tailor communications for travellers in specific regions to educate and encourage responsible and respectful travel. Now more than ever, it is critical to have a proactive approach for how the tourism sector, its partners, and stakeholders face the future positively and sustainably.”

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