The decision to put responsible tourism at the heart of World Routes 2017 by making The Travel Foundation the event’s official charity partner is an interesting one. The charity has delivered sustainable tourism projects in 26 countries and is curating much of the content in the conference.
But why should the aviation industry, and in particular the 2,500-plus route development experts attending the Barcelona event, be bothered about what goes on in resort? While aircraft in flight do pollute, airlines minimise
the damage through carbon offset schemes and technological progress is also helping.
However, issues concerning sustainable tourism are increasingly emerging as inhabitants of some of the world’s most popular destinations – from Venice to the Balearics – are finding their traditional lifestyles threatened by mass tourism. This has led to protests and even governments introducing legislation to limit tourism numbers. And this is good news for those of us in route development.
Responsibly managed destinations keep visitors coming – making the routes that support them long-term business ventures. It also encourages the creation of new routes to emerging destinations, which give travellers new options as well as taking the pressure off the old favourites.
These are just some of the arguments The Travel Foundation makes on page 81. And the right government intervention can help our industry in other areas too.
Russia’s preparations for next year’s football World Cup (page 66) have been boosted by government backing. Similarly, RwandAir is seen not just as an airline with a bright future but also as a way of enhancing the country’s prestige internationally (page 34), hence Rwanda’s government’s support.
In addition, in getting governments to back positive factors for the industry, so we can divert their attention away from introducing fresh barriers elsewhere. Bosses of both Caribbean airline TIA 2000 (page 28) and Latin LCC JetSMART (page 61) are calling on their respective local governments to end certain restrictive subsidies and regulations.
So we need to continue working with our governments to drive them in the right direction to ensure aviation is effectively, not overly, regulated, especially when it comes to creating sustainable destinations. It’s not just in our interests to do so; it is our responsibility.
editor, Routes News