After COP26 travel can really be a force for good – Barrhead Travel commentary

A contentious point for residents and businesses in the city is how the event and the visitors drawn to it will have a positive impact on the community. Whichever side of the discussion you land on, it’s a topic that’s more prevalent than ever when you consider responsible travel and tourism across the world.

Now that the conference is over, it is important to take stock of the ideas and ambitions we still have to achieve. Green finance, green infrastructure and other large diplomatic projects are crucial and even impressive, but at Barrhead Travel we were especially excited to hear that governments and businesses around the world were developing new ways of thinking about sustainable practices. in the daily lives of consumers.

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“Making sure that tourism is a platform to facilitate all of these positive outcomes is up to us – the travel industry and those who love to travel,” says Ms. Dobson (file image). Photo: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images.

This of course includes issues such as recycling and sustainable public transport, but it also means that consumers are imagining new ways of traveling internationally.

Like many companies, at Barrhead Travel we also investigated our sustainability commitments with the re-launch of a group-wide sustainability commitment. We are working with our global transportation partners to understand their commitments to move to greener alternatives and to review our entire store network operation to determine where we can reduce our carbon footprint and promote better development practices. sustainable.

But a topic that concerns many destinations and tourist boards around the world is how to rebuild travel in the most responsible way possible. It is a privilege to be able to travel the world, visit new countries and enjoy all the benefits that come from being immersed in new cultures. And with that privilege comes responsibility.

With one in ten jobs related to tourism globally, it’s no surprise that the sector brings a myriad of economic benefits, especially to countries that depend on it as the main engine of their economy. These countries depend on a strong post-pandemic recovery – but many are taking the opportunity to ensure that tourism has an even more significant impact on their environment and communities.

“Our goal is to understand how we can deliberately help change the way we travel for good,” says the boss of Barrhead Travel. Photo: Malcolm Cochrane.

Positive impact

Promoting responsible tourism is at the top of our agenda at Barrhead Travel. For us, “social sustainability” is essential to protect the long-term future of tourism. Our commitment to our customers and the destinations we work with is to help vacationers understand how they can make travel decisions that will have a positive impact on the places they visit.

Spain, for example, is one of our top destinations, with the Canaries, Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol and Alicante consistently dominating our top ten. Tourism in Spain accounts for 12 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product, and UK visitors represent a substantial share.

At the recent ABTA travel convention, UK director of Spain’s National Tourism Board Manuel Butler said tourism needs to come back in a more sustainable way, noting it will mean “a cultural change. huge “and said that the global industry” must put people at the center of our economies. “

Mr. Butler highlighted the problem of overtourism in some of the country’s most popular resorts. This is a great example of highlighting how travel companies, like us, can help alleviate some of the challenges destinations face. Promoting real experiences off the beaten path, making recommendations for local restaurants or attractions, and working to show people how they can respectfully interact with local cultures is just the beginning of how we can promote a more sustainable and responsible tourism.

Evolution

We don’t pretend to know everything – in fact, there are so many developments in the responsible and sustainable tourism space – but we have identified the best ways to bring about change for our partner destinations. Our goal is to understand how we can deliberately help change the way we travel for good. Gone are the days when responsible travel simply meant ‘leaving nothing but footprints’.

It’s still, of course, very relevant, but the meaning of responsible travel runs much deeper. As a vacation loving nation, we must learn to bond deeply with communities when we travel.

Because travel can be a force for good. It creates jobs, stimulates foreign investment, supports educational infrastructure, stabilizes economies, fosters engagement with local cultures, fosters partnerships with people – and much more. Ensuring that tourism is a platform to facilitate all of these positive outcomes depends on us, the travel industry and those who love to travel.

No matter what you are traveling for – business, leisure, “leisure”, visiting friends and family, or for educational purposes, we all make our mark with our global footprint. We just want to help ensure that the mark left by tourism is always a force for good.

Jacqueline Dobson is President of Barrhead Travel and was recently named Scotland’s Inspirational Woman of the Year at the annual Business Women Scotland Awards.

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