WTM’s New Platform for Change Addresses the Challenges Facing Tourism


A platform to inspire debate and provoke discussion about issues that need to be addressed within travel and tourism – with the aim of sharing solutions – has been launched within the WTM Global Hub.

The Platform for Change will showcase tried and tested solutions to the many challenges posed by making tourism sustainable. Many solutions have been identified and tested through the Responsible Tourism Awards and panels held at WTM London since 2004. The solutions will be debated through to WTM London in November and then in 2022 promoted across the travel and tourism sector.

The outcomes will form a manifesto to challenge the industry into progressive development nearly 20 years on from the start of the responsible tourism movement.

Led by WTM’s Advisor on Responsible Tourism Professor Harold Goodwin, the content on Platform for Change will consist of a series of blogs, a series of solutions webpages, one-to-one interviews, social posts and webinars.

Prof Goodwin said the aim is to “provoke discussion about the issues which need to be addressed and the solutions which have been tried and tested”.

He adds: “As President Biden has pointed out, this is the critical decade for action. Companies need to do things differently. We know the solutions and we need to apply them.”

Topics high on Prof Goodwin’s list of practices that need to be addressed include sustainable aviation, making certification schemes more meaningful; adapting to the ‘new normal’ of Covid-19 and how we shouldn’t use COVID as an excuse to delay action on greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity.

Professor Goodwin says: “At WTM London in 2020, we asked, “Can we make tourism better?” and we concluded that we could. We have many solutions tried and tested by businesses and destinations around the world. We need to share those solutions, and more of us need to adopt them.

“There is no one solution, and priorities vary from destination to destination. We need a sector response and partnerships between tourists, businesses, communities and their governments if we are going to make tourism better.

“We plan to work with businesses, local authorities, conservation organisations and communities to prepare a Platform for Change to be discussed at WTM London in November 2021.

“And in 2022 to challenge the industry to adopt the tried and tested solutions that have been developed over the last 20 years.”

WTM London, Exhibition Director, Simon Press says:

“The Platform for Change is an area where people can come together with ideas to confront different challenges and situations with one common goal: to make tourism of the future work for everyone involved.”

The Platform for Change comes as recent research shows 18% of Brits want to travel more sustainably but don’t know how, with 16% believing sustainable travel is far too expensive.

Research also shows 8.4 million[1] UK consumers (16%) think it is up to travel companies rather than themselves to make their travel experiences sustainable. Almost twice that figure (17.4 million[2]) 32% intend to go on holiday in the next year and 9% can’t wait to go, no matter what the cost to their wallet or the planet.

One in 10 Brits (10%) say they’ve saved over the pandemic for a holiday of a lifetime in the near future. Just under a fifth (18%) say since the pandemic has opened their eyes on how we need to look after the world more, especially when it comes to travel.

The younger generation would pay more to travel in a sustainable way, if brands helped them to do so, (17% of 16–24 year olds surveyed), such as carbon offsetting their flight with this intent decreasing to 9% of 35-44 year olds, yet the younger age group currently see sustainable travel as far too expensive, with 20% of 16-24 year olds thinking this, as they do not feel it is financially viable to holiday responsibly.

Access Platform for Change: https://hub.wtm.com/responsible-tourism/platform-for-change/


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