Magazine article International Trade Forum

Tourism & Travel in the Green Economy: The Rapidly Evolving Green Growth Paradigm Shift That All Nations Are Embracing at a Policy Level, with the Buy-In of Industry and Civil Society, Provides an Unparalleled Opportunity to Leverage the Massive Socio-Economic Power of Travelism (Travel and Tourism) to Benefit Humanity and the Planet

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Tourism & Travel in the Green Economy: The Rapidly Evolving Green Growth Paradigm Shift That All Nations Are Embracing at a Policy Level, with the Buy-In of Industry and Civil Society, Provides an Unparalleled Opportunity to Leverage the Massive Socio-Economic Power of Travelism (Travel and Tourism) to Benefit Humanity and the Planet

Article excerpt

We are at a tipping point where the past four decades of climate and poverty concern--the Stockholm Environment Conference, the Rio Earth Summit, the Kyoto Climate Summit, the Millennium Development Goals and the like must give way to shared solutions. What is needed now is vision, innovative thinking and courage by policymakers--public, private and civil society to recognize the potential and create new, inclusive frameworks to make it happen.

Green growth is not a simple concept. For the world's least developed countries (LDCs), and Africa specifically, the global green growth agenda could bring huge potential dividends--with inclusion as a key element, renewable energy as a point of focus, technology and capacity support as givens and transformation financing pivotal. Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) will lead the reshaping of the international order--particularly China with its huge tourism flows and LDC-aligned strategic geo policy (see Figure 1).

There is a key role for travelism--the combined impact of the whole travel and tourism supply and demand chains and not just the sub-sector silos (transport, accommodation, hospitality/events and travel services). However, much of the potential lies hidden. If its role can be recognized and incorporated into mainstream green growth politico-economic decision making, it can have significant positive socio-economic benefits. This is particularly the case for the world's poorest countries generally and Africa specifically, where it is a universal services exporter, a producer of wealth, jobs and investment, a catalyst for other economic activity (agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and communications) and a force for development that increases understanding between people. Leveraging this value will need radical new thinking and, more importantly, action.

* Travelism must be mainstreamed by all in green growth strategies in the next five years.

* It must be recognized and supported as a responsible sector that will meet and exceed evolving government carbon targets, including for the pivotal air transport sector.

* LDCs require more air services. In some densely populated markets like Europe, North America and China, substitution of transport modes based on carbon footprints may be feasible. However, LDCs lack alternative options and depend on aviation for sustainable future growth and emergence from poverty.

* Tapping the growing BRICS markets will be important. Chinese outbound business is forecast to be the largest international market in the world. One great upside of Chinese investment in Africa is that travelism will be an integral part of growth and development requiring more air services, support infrastructure, products and quality delivery. Chinese travellers are discerning and will be looking for the same standards in airports and ground services they find in Asia.

* There is a vast array of micro strategies that will need to be deployed in the short, medium and long term to respond coherently to the economic, poverty and carbon timescales. Activating regional and locally focused collaboration will be required to stimulate 'bottom of the pyramid' (BOP) market activity across the travelism value chain. …

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