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Africa: Envisioning The Future Of Sustainable Tourism

THE staggering impact of climate change and environmental issues means that sustainability can no longer be ignored. It is one of the few global trends set to be ever-present over the coming decades, impacting industries worldwide, and none more so than the global travel and tourism industry. Against this backdrop, tourism stakeholders need to rethink sustainable practices throughout the industry, focusing on how the sector can incorporate new models and insights to ensure its sustainable future and advance proposals towards net-zero, nature-positive tourism that benefits local communities.
SuperBridge Summit Dubai
According to the ‘A World in Motion’ report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (“WTTC”), Trip.com Group and Deloitte, three-quarters of travellers have expressed a desire to embrace more sustainable travel in the future. In light of this trend, providing more information and choices can help promote sustainable travel, since 69% of travellers are actively seeking sustainable travel options.

With travellers becoming more engaged in their environmental impact and seeking sustainable alternatives, Trip.com Group announced its long-term goal to build green tourism, covering three key areas, including working with partners to launch over 10,000 low-carbon travel products; promoting sustainable travel concepts and engaging 100 million travellers in low-carbon practices; and, aiming to further reduce carbon emissions across our operations.

Meanwhile, Trip.com has partnered with CHOOOSE, a company dedicated to offsetting CO2 emissions for flights by supporting impactful climate solutions worldwide. In support of this effort, Trip.com Group has made substantial progress. Notably, more than 16 million individuals have chosen our low-carbon products, with Gen Z showing the highest preference for sustainability compared to other age groups. These results are highly encouraging to us. For example, our low-carbon products have increasingly more commercial value, with the conversion rate of low-carbon flights 15% higher than regular flights.

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Achieving our sustainable travel goals necessitates collaborative efforts with a wide range of stakeholders. Our collaboration last year with the WTTC led to the release of the Sustainable Travel Consumer Report 2022, establishing sustainable travel as a global trend. In March this year, together with Accor and McKinsey, we launched a whitepaper on sustainable travel in China and set out a series of industry and consumer recommendations.

More recently, Trip.com Group partnered with organisations, including the UN Global Compact, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and WTTC, to encourage low-carbon practices. We are also a Founding Partner of Travalyst, the not-for-profit sustainable travel coalition. Trip.Biz, the Group’s corporate travel arm, fully integrate the Travalyst Aviation Framework on emissions. The framework consists of shared principles and preferred methodology for estimating carbon emissions from air travel, agreed and committed to by all Travalyst travel distribution partners.

Post-pandemic, it is abundantly clear that the “new normal” cannot be implemented without sustainability as a core value that underpins the entire business structure. Managed well, tourism can play a positive role in the destination’s socio, cultural, economic and environmental development and, as such, represents a significant development opportunity for many countries and communities. The need for sustainable planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as a whole, and ultimately, we envision a world where travel enhances, rather than diminishes, the beauty and integrity of our planet and its diverse cultures. As an industry leader, we will continue building towards this vision of a more environmentally conscious future – and continue curating perfect trips for a better world, enhancing the communities and lives of every traveller.

Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, will be speaking at the SuperBridge Dubai Summit, taking place on 16 and 17 October at the Museum of the Future, Dubai.

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