Tourism 2023 - Towards a Sustainable Travel and Tourism Industry

Leading players in tourism have pledged to create a strong and profitable industry for the future, which benefits tourist destinations and protects the environment.

Founding partners ABTA, British Airways, Carnival, The Co-operative Travel, The Travel Foundation, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel, have announced their commitment to Tourism 2023. Together the partners carry approximately 45 million passengers every year.

Tourism 2023, coordinated by sustainable development charity Forum for the Future and supported by Defra, is a collaborative project to help the outbound travel and tourism industry to anticipate and plan for its future. It sets out a clear vision of a profitable and successful future supported by an effective industry strategy.

The founding partners, together with Advantage Travel Centres and Sunvil Holidays, have signed up to the vision committing themselves to creating a sustainable industry by 2023 which benefits people and the environment.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “It is vital that the travel and tourism industry meets the challenges that an international industry faces if we want to have a successful and profitable future. By working together we can come up with practical and innovative solutions to these challenges, which make sound commercial sense. Tourism 2023 sets out the destination, and the direction we must follow to get there.”

The Tourism 2023 vision is based on six principles: protecting the environment; developing employees; providing customers with mainstream sustainable products; ensuring that destinations benefit from tourism; innovating to create sustainable transport and resorts; and developing a business which is environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.

The vision and strategy have been developed in response to four detailed scenarios which explore critical uncertainties facing the outbound industry, such as the impact of growing domestic demand, climate change, resource scarcity, legislation, and increasing travel from emerging economies.
Vivid details bring the world of each scenario to life and are designed to provoke debate: Will mass tourism see overcrowded destinations herding visitors from attraction to attraction on timed tickets? Will technological breakthroughs see virtual travel replace disappointing real life experiences? Will there be new types of fuel, or aircraft design, or even a return of the airship?

The founding partners commissioned the scenarios to help the industry imagine and plan for its future. More than 100 people with expertise in different facets of the industry - including business leaders, academics, legislators, campaigners and commentators – have helped develop the scenarios, vision and strategy.

The partners hope that the project will also catalyse action within the wider outbound industry to tackle the challenges it faces. They are inviting other organisations to sign up to the vision and take part in the work which will help shape the future of tourism.

Mike Greenacre, Managing Director, The Co-operative Travel, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of Tourism 2023, developing with other leading businesses a sustainable vision and strategy for the future.  Tourism 2023 shows that the Industry can work together to meet some of the toughest challenges that the sector has to face over the next 15 years.’

Dermot Blastland, Managing Director, TUI Travel UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled to be joining other leading operators in signing up to the Tourism 2023 Vision. We hope that through combining our efforts we can take our collective sustainability commitment to the next level, setting industry-wide goals on issues that cannot be tackled by individual tour operators alone.”

Dan Norris, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment said: ‘It’s great to see these organisations coming together to declare their commitment to Tourism 2023 and working to reduce their environmental impact and I hope others will join them. I look forward to seeing their vision turn into real actions and create a low-carbon industry.’

Stephanie Draper, Director, Forum for the Future, said: “The founders recognise that the best way to create a commercially sustainable future is to take their social and environmental responsibilities to the heart of their businesses. Their commitment to the Tourism 2023 Vision shows the way to the rest of the industry in the region and worldwide.”

Download the report here, view animations of each scenario, and read quotes from the partners and information on how they put their commitments into practice.


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