first_imgThe World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report released at World Travel Market, London revealed that travellers and the tourism industry are at odds over what sustainability means, whose responsibility it is and how green they really are.The World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report asked UK consumers and the global travel industry a number of questions about the environment and tourism.The UK holidaymakers’ findings showed that 61% of respondents claimed that the environment and sustainability were quite or very important (46% and 15% respectively) in their choice of holiday destination. On the other hand, this means that a balance of 39% says it is a not very or not at all important (32% and 7%).However, 74% of the sample never offset their carbon emissions when flying, although in a separate question, 30% said they would be willing to pay more for a more environmentally-friendly holiday.Respondents were asked for specific details about what they did on holiday in terms of minimising their impact on the environment – 61% visit local attractions with 52% buying local goods as souvenirs, 52% re-use bath towels and 44% use public transport to get around.During the keynote speech for World Responsible Tourism Day 2015, Tyndall Centre climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson laid out the level of the threat facing both the travel industry and society at large. Commenting on the established target of keeping temperature rise to within two degrees centigrade, he said, “At a two degrees rise many millions of poor people, mostly in the southern hemisphere, will die. It means we are prepared to sacrifice the lives of many poor, low emitting people.”Rather than expressing optimism for the solutions the industry is implementing, he argued that, “We cannot build the low carbon supply fast enough. In the interim we therefore have to reduce the level of consumption.” This would mean the sacrifice of many of the luxuries richer people have become accustomed to, he said, for example requiring a dramatic reduction in the number of flights people take.Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO said, “Growth is not the enemy. If we start seeing growth as the enemy, then we are running away from the problem.” However, he did agree with Professor Anderson’s argument that the removal of the $5.2 trillion annual subsidies for the fossil fuel industry would greatly increase the chance of success.Some of the highlights of WTM London Responsible Tourism Programme Sessions included,• Child Protection• Taking Responsibility for Wildlife and National Parks• The role of government in managing tourism in Destinations• Carbon Resource Efficiency Good Practice• Increasing the local economic benefits of tourismlast_img