Sustainability in Tourism has undertaken massive development during the previous three decades. Today, all holidaymakers are posed with the question – how will my holiday choice affect people and the environment? The evolution of consumer behaviour and decision making will be dependent upon how we adapt our understanding of economic, social and environmental impacts.
For us to really understand the concept and integration of sustainable methods of tourism as a business theory, we delved back to 1987 and studied the Brundtland Report (Our Common Future). Here, Sustainability was defined as –
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Travel Matters understood that this dedicated form of travel needed to be recognised as an approach; not only provided by the supplier, but one adopted by the consumer.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable Tourism has been divided into many subsets, some of which include Ethical, Green, Eco and Responsible Tourism. These terms refer to the safeguarding of the environment and enhancement of the indigenous populace; concerning the welfare and progression of living circumstances and embracing a holistic philosophy toward nature.
Crucially, as a tourist we cannot conjure unfavourable images & attitudes amongst the locals, as we run the risk of ‘Antagonism’, categorised in Doxey’s Irridex. Our reaction to reducing negative socio-cultural impacts is to assume our knowledge and expertise, whilst embracing successfully implemented frameworks that act as a benchmark (Our Mission & Goals). By enabling consumer demand, Travel Matters is able to assist Responsible Travellers during their booking process. The education starts well before the departure date though, and it continues long after the experience! How we deliver our service aims to measures the purposefulness of what is no longer perceived as a niche market. The Travel Matters philosophy sets out to demonstrate how our behaviour, when we travel, can make have a positive impact on the people and places we visit (Our Tips). In addition, we believe that a vital aspect of one’s travel experience should reflect in their self-growth as a human being in relation to themselves as well as others.
Through collaborative efforts, Travel Matters has been able to learn, and assist businesses in their mission. Being a signatory and partner for the likes of SUNx Malta, Terra Carta, The Derek Moore Foundation and The Travel Foundation has given our message more meaning and identity. We use our knowledge & experiences to act as guiding principles, so that clear moral and business imperatives for building a healthier tourism industry can be continuous.
Our collaborative efforts with Future for Tourism and Trees for Cities have shown that decades of unencumbered growth in travel have put some of the world’s most precious destinations at risk, particularly environmentally. In order to inspire recovery, we have continuously practice ‘Goal #13 – Climate Action’ of our Consultancy of Sustainable Development Goals (STG).
With international tourist numbers falling by around 70% in 2020 (UNTWO), due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel Matters reacted imminently to assist our industry as it faced a precarious future. The first step was to organise fund raising for the likes of Ride4Rangers and the Galapagos Conservation Trust, whilst establishing collaborations with JUMP’s Net Zero Challenge and Dr. Bremley Lyngdoh, Founder & CEO of Worldview Impact Foundation (WIF).
Due to the global recession of 2008; economic depression, inconsistent & shifting exchange rates and the degradation of market confidence all resulted in the withdrawal of shareholder financing, which had a knock-on effect with regard to stakeholder investment in airlines. During 2013, low cost airlines represented the sale of 26% of seats sold per annum, compared to 8% in 2001 (Business Destinations). As a result of this global financial crisis, the United Kingdom saw a weakened economy that encouraged either more domestic holidaying or affordable short-haul flight options. The wide spread use of low cost travel caused more holiday makers to seek less expensive alternatives that have detrimental impacts on the environment. This fanned the flames of Mass Tourism, wiping out many key facets of sustainability! As many European regions underwent rapid development, damage to local environments, economies and socio-cultural groups continued.
However, the paralysis of the Pandemic spurred Tourism’s newly founded conceptions on responsible travel, mainly due to the travel restrictions, forced many systematic holidaymakers to reconsider their options. This Staycation revolution swarmed Britain again and this time, it made people question how they wanted to travel going forward (‘Sustainable Travel & my Carbon Footprint – Travel Matters takes to the Streets’). Due to a shifting culture, consumers are witnessing change! For instance, The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has already petitioned the embargo on domestic flights on comparable train journey that takes less than five hours, as well as subsidising train fares.
How to Take Action
The ‘Make Travel Matter Campaign’ was originally established to encourage travel as a privilege and inspire people to make more conscious decisions during their travels, by protecting the environment and the communities they encounter. All we ask is for future travellers to band together and follow criteria encompassing the durability of local economic growth & stability and the ethical & social equitability for local communities in a destination…please consider our Campaign during your next booking & holiday experience.