Tempting Travellers to … Sustainable Tourism and Green Meetings
Natural disasters and extreme weather have always affected meeting and tourism destinations, and tempting travellers to meet anywhere in any season has always meant assessing the risk of weather. The impact of climate change will be the most important cause of travel risk in the year ahead according to leading travel risk intelligence company Riskline, rare is the tourism campaign that can compete with even a cursory glance at headlines recently: unprecedented fires across Australia, record-breaking flooding in Venice, all point to the increasing importance of Sustainable Tourism and Green Meetings on mitigating the weather and climate related events impacting our daily world.
Photo Credit: Thick smoke in Australia during recent wildfires. Siobhan Threlfall / Associated Press
Scientists say we can expect that extreme weather events like these will continue to become more common in the age of climate change. However, as these events become more common, there’s a sense of a new normal emerging for how a destination handles such disasters. Puerto Rico — which has been in a state of perma-recovery since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 — released a series of statements this week in the wake of multiple earthquakes, noting that “to keep the economy recovering, we must keep tourism strong as it fuels local communities.”
These destinations — and the meeting and tourism-facing businesses who operate there — will benefit when we tempt travellers to show up after these weather and climate change events to aid in the economic recovery. But it’s also a short-term solution. While some tourism boards are waking up to the fact that they have to worry about a destination’s sustainability as well as its marketability, they seem to be even slower to catch on to the meta picture.
Few have publicly made the connection that tourism itself is a contributor to climate change, and climate change is a contributor to these tourism-damaging events. As that startling reality becomes more and more apparent to travellers, it will be harder for tourism boards to play off these tragic events as aberrations that meeting planners can aid in the recovery of. It is no longer acceptable to deny the climate realities happening globally.
In all the suffering and depressing headlines, there’s a troubling trend emerging, one where “see-it-before-it’s-gone” tourism promotion becomes common as in a New York Times travel piece about the rise of cruises in Antarctica, which featured the head-turning quote: “Climate change is a chief reason for the increased interest in visiting Antarctica,” small ship cruise specialist Mary Curry said. “We truly don’t know if the region will ever be as magnificent as it is now.”
Planner Pulse on Sustainability – Which sustainability factors influence your choices?
We all must play our part in addressing climate change through Sustainable Tourism and Green Meetings. Tempting travellers to leave a positive impact on all the destinations and the way green meetings are planned, the following tips can help support our planet: Use recycled materials wherever possible REDUCE paper use, PARTNER with local green industries using Clean Energy or use solar or wind or wave produced energy if available, EAT GREEN and LOCAL where possible and WALK OR TRAVEL SMART, use electric vehicles and public transit wherever possible.
PHOTO CREDIT – Fiona Knight Temptingtravellersto Galway transport.