Aito has launched a new think tank to use travel’s post-Covid reset “to redesign a more sustainable approach” for the industry moving forward.
Delegates at the association’s Alive and Kicking virtual conference on Tuesday (15 December) heard how the recently formed Aito Climate Crisis group would seek to “contribute to the essential decrease in global warming, whilst continuing to promote the benefits of meaningful travel”.
Director Derek Moore said the think tank would focus on issues such as overtourism, consumer travel practices and curbing carbon emissions and work alongside Aito’s Sustainable Tourism Committee.
“We feel that Aito has a duty to use our position in the industry to draw attention to these harmful effects and foster the improvement of our sector’s behaviour,” he said.
Moore revealed Aito had partnered with other travel trade association such as Lata, Atta, Pata and Bar UK to move its agenda forward and lobby politicians in the UK and overseas.
Reflecting on what he called the industry’s “most immediately critical issue” in the rapid growth of aviation, Moore argued that technological advancement to make aircraft greener would not be enough to offset an increasing volume of air travel
He also stressed the importance of working with airlines to expand at a sustainable rate.
“Yes in 2021 there will be a downturn in air travel due to the current situation - but I would suggest that will be temporary.
“It’s a tough task but we need to get airlines matching supply with demand so we don’t get hundreds of aircraft flying half empty across the globe.
“In many ways thanks to the time of Covid, with travel and aviation vastly reduced, we have now the closest we will ever get to a blank sheet of paper on which to redesign not only our own businesses but also a more sustainable approach for our travel industry.”
Speaking alongside Moore, head of sustainability at Explore and chair of Aito’s Sustainable Tourism Committee, Pru Stone, said new toolkits on a number of issues would soon be released to offer “clear guidance” to members.
Topics include animal welfare, plastic reduction, human rights and measuring and reducing carbon.
“I know everyone has their own priorities and opinions but together we’re much stronger than we are individually – we’ve got a louder voice and collaboration in 2021 is key,” said Stone.