Sustainable tourism has been in existence for many years. However, it is still considered a distinct niche activity involving upmarket ecolodges rather than a fundamental element of what all tourism could be. As the social and environmental pressures increase, and tourism itself continues to grow year on year, there is an urgent need for sustainable practices to become mainstream within the tourism sector.
While the subject has been widely researched, discussed, and debated, including at several WTTC Global Summits, there is a need to evolve the nature of the discussion and the language used into something more accessible to those outside the ‘sustainability’ community.
This social media video aims to stimulate discussion about sustainable tourism amongst those who engage in or provide tourism, and for whom it is not normally a topic of conversation. Given the unique mix of T&T professionals, sustainability experts, consumers, students, and policy makers that make up WTTC’s social media following, WTTC is well placed to stimulate such a conversation.
The opening shot introduces the audience to a future time period, set somewhere in Southern Asia. This is clearly meant to signal that this is a fictional setting, yet still tied to our current timeline/reality. It is set 100 years into the future (2117), a date distinctly chosen for its connection to the Year of Sustainable Development 2017. The protagonist, an 11-year-old girl, is shown playing with a toy plane, signaling her interest in travel. She then asks her computer to define tourism. The computer begins with a standard definition of Travel & Tourism as it began in the early 21st century – as we know it now. As the computer continues with the definition, it makes it clear that the sector grew aware of the impact it had on the planet, and thus came together along with consumers and governments to safeguard the planet’s resources and ensure the further development of sustainable practices that continue the growth of the sector. The fictional futuristic setting is a nod to that effort, in which Travel & Tourism is now a major sector that does not have to call on a change of practices, but sustainable tourism has just become “tourism” without any caveats.
The following posts include an explainer and call to action from WTTC, and a collaboration with bloggers on the theme of sustainability, what travellers can do, and the need for action from consumers and the sector: