Letters From Travel Industry Leaders at Core of New Book

9/7/2012 By Glenn Hasek

Few books on green travel or green hotel operations cross my desk. When I do receive a copy of this type of book I like to highlight it. One such book that I recently received is “Green Growth and Travelism: Letters from Leaders.” I highly recommend reading this book that was published by Goodfellow Publishers Limited and edited by five green travel experts: Geoffrey Lipman, director of Greenearth.travel; Terry DeLacy, a professor in sustainable tourism and environmental policy at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia; Shaun Vorster, special advisor to the South African Minister of Tourism; Rebecca Hawkins, director of the Responsible Hospitality Partnership; and Min Jiang, a research fellow at Victoria University, Melbourne.

The book includes letters written by 47 travel industry leaders from around the world. Former Marriott executive and now president, Laguna Strategic Advisors, Edwin D. Fuller contributed a letter as well as Karen Kotowski, CEO, Convention Industry Council, and Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group. Topics range from “Why Aviation Can Respond Positively to Climate Change” (Branson) to “Harnessing People Power to Secure Green Growth” (Reto Wittwer, president and CEO, Kempinski Hotels).

In the book’s introduction, the editors highlight some of the key themes expressed in the letters. The themes are all excellent. For example, the editors state, “It is vitally important to revamp education systems to fully integrate green growth and travelism into curricula and research disciplines, as well as more effectively communicating the importance of responsible travel to consumers. Social and environmental sustainability principles are integral to the expectations of young future leaders. They are more likely to feel attracted to and stay within companies that make a positive impact on the environment.”

Travel & Tourism, Air Transport Divided

The editors add, “There is a need for greater policy coherence and coordination across the travelism value chain; most importantly, breaking out of the silos that still see tourism and aviation as separate economic activities. Travel and tourism should be positioned collectively as a strategic industry, with air transport as an interconnected core, not an isolated entity.”

In Edwin D. Fuller’s chapter on “Helping to Manage Change by Sitting at the Table,” he states, “Today, we have the power to be an extraordinary force for positive change, as global leaders address the economic and societal challenges of our time—challenges that include extreme poverty and congestion, food and water shortages, and energy depletion. With more than 1 billion tourism arrivals anticipated this year alone and an average of 4 percent growth each year for the next 10 years, we are in a unique position to impact a lot of people and, thereby, foster understanding of these challenges, broaden cultural appreciation and, more importantly, contribute to the global solution.”

All of travel and tourism is represented in this new book. What I would love to see is a second book with letters only from the accommodations sector. If you could write a letter for all of our industry to read regarding your take on “Green Growth and Travelism,” what would it say? What lofty suggestions would you offer on how we, as an industry, can best move our industry toward sustainability? I would love to read your comments. I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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