The Travel & Tourism Industry – Ongoing Development and the Challenge of Sustainability

The WTTC Global Summit 2014 has recently ended in the city of Hainan, China. Once again, the Council, whose members include the world’s foremost Travel & Tourism organizations, has invited a distinguished number of leaders to exchange ideas and discuss important issues related to the future of the industry.

Among the major recurring topics addressed in all the work sessions and even during many of the social gatherings figure the environment, sustainability, ethical principles, volatility, unpredictability, infrastructure development, contribution to employment generation, and its subsequent contribution to peace and prosperity among all people.

However, the issue of climate change, repeated natural disasters, and their causes and consequences led perhaps to the most heated debates among many of the participants.

Despite growing awareness of the issue within the international community, there is an urgent need to enforce the theoretical principles that are almost generally accepted as valid and reasonable.

No doubt, the issue involves major challenges,perhaps some of the biggest ones facing humanity in the last two centuries.

Our Current Scenario

The world population continues to grow everywhere with a few exceptions. Society has become used to developments that were unthinkable just some years ago and which no one seems willing to do without. By the way, everything appears to suggest that such developments will continue to surprise us at an extremely fast pace. Strangely enough, as humanity tends to live longer, advances and developments, especially technological ones, are increasingly short-lived.

The business world is part of this frenzy and requires ongoing growth to keep ratios that may help maintain and, if possible, increase the value of companies and/or undertakings.

It is an unceasing escalation that most of us see as natural, although sometimes we ponder over the need to switch to smarter growth and development principles to create a more sustainable world.

It is a huge challenge and it is not enough to make the issue clear;just as development must continue so too must our commitment to make good use of what has been loaned to us during our brief stay on earth. Indeed, we forget that the natural resources we use, manipulate, and waste have been given to us as a loan and have to be looked after for future generations.

Those of us who are related to the travel and tourism world know that we have a powerful weapon in our hands. In a scenario where technology allows us to connect with absolutely everyone without moving, people wish to explore new destinations with increasing frequency. It is the most wonderful phenomenon since man lives on planet earth.

In this sense, our industry has the privilege to know that it will keep expanding and developing to meet the growing need we all have to gain first-hand knowledge by ourselves.

Therefore, we must act taking into account smart development, with responsibility and commitment, seeking to enhance the resources needed while bearing in mind that these would be used by the future generations.