Chair Noel Josephides told delegates at the Travel Foundation’s annual general meeting last week the rise of dynamic packaging was impacting efforts to create more sustainable destinations.
“Ten years ago there were no low-cost carriers, everyone booked with tour operators. Now, travel is dominated by technology companies that sell flights and accommodation online and care little about the destinations,” he insisted.
“They simply see themselves as a sales portal and have removed themselves from any responsibility for the destinations,” he added.
Josephides, who is also a Travel Foundation trustee as well as chair of Greek specialist operator Sunvil Holidays, said destinations needed to respond to this changing marketplace by doing more themselves to protect their environment, culture and communities from the damaging effects of tourism.
He also warned that aviation and tourism must not be allowed to grow unabated, and expressed concern that around 6,000 new aircraft were currently on order in the UK, Europe and US alone.
“Growth cannot be limitless in a finite world. Why aren’t we making a fuss anymore? Is it because we don’t want to give up our £10 tickets? Is it a God-given right to fly around the world as if it was nothing?” he insisted.
“This has really been troubling me. Any discussions about carbon in the travel industry seems to have faded away. But cheaper oil does not equate to lower emissions,” he warned.
He added that The Travel Foundation is better placed than many institutions to make a difference since it has “boots on the ground”.
“It’s not just theory and words; our trade background means we can open doors in destinations like Cyprus and Greece. We can implement what we preach,” he said.
“It’s about doing tourism in a way that not only protects the future of those destinations, but protects the future of tourism overall.”