Travel providers are turning more and more towards sustainability

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Travel providers are turning more and more towards sustainability
Source: WTM
November 17, 2022

The CEO of EasyJet Holidays told WTM that there has been a "seismic shift" in the attitudes of travel providers towards the importance of sustainability in recent years

Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, introduced EasyJet Holidays CEO Garry Wilson on stage as an early adopter of sustainability in the industry, who understood its importance more than 20 years ago.

In response, Mr Wilson said: “In 2001, sustainability as a concept was seen as quite novel, something people knew was the right thing to do, but difficult to articulate and very much the premise of niche tourism. What reassures me enormously is the seismic shift in understanding about sustainability and why it matters."

He said the problem of sustainability in travel is now "on an industry level", with "aircraft design, hotel construction and destination development". “The whole industry is involved,” she said. 

Mr Wilson joined EasyJet Holidays in 1999 from the TUI Group, where he was General Manager of Group Purchasing and Products, leading a global team in 20 countries. 

Goodwin told Wilson that he had been surprised when he switched to EasyJet and asked why he made the switch and if he had any regrets.

Wilson responded: “For all the time I worked in tourism, EasyJet was always discussed in terms of fast growth. The only thing they had never ventured into was the touring operation. 

“I could stay where I was at TUI – I owe my career to TUI and I loved what I was doing there. 

“On the other hand, I had the opportunity to set something up from scratch in a way that I would like to set it up and build the culture and perspective in the way that I wanted to. 

“The opportunity to do that was too good to turn down. One of the real temptations for me, which has been enormously gratifying, is that there was nothing there before. This will be our focus on how we develop destinations and how we work with hotels.”

EasyJet Holidays carried 300,000 passengers in 2019, 1.1 million in 2022 "will grow significantly more in the coming year," Wilson said. 

EasyJet Holidays is committed to 100% carbon offsetting, as well as building close relationships with the people and communities of its destinations. 

The company has said it wants to "raise the bar, positively shake things up and lead the industry" in sustainability. 

He said companies that embrace sustainability will have happy customers, a much higher repeat rate, which in turn leads to lower marketing costs. 

He warned that some emerging destinations often don't think about social or environmental impacts, and said the local community must also be involved in planning and implementation. 

Mr. Wilson also called out people who are "snobbish" about all-inclusives, criticizing them for taking revenue away from local businesses.

“I hate the snobbery attached to the idea of ​​all-inclusive and I hate the attitude that for some reason having an all-inclusive destination destroys local communities and businesses. 

“There is no business case to prove that. The hotel would probably employ a few thousand people. That hotel would get tons and tons of food, creating wealth. 

"As long as the wages and standard of living they provide are good, I support all-in." 


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