The travel industry cannot overcome the coronavirus crisis by returning to business as normal. That was what the participants in Friday’s panel on sustainability at the virtual We Love Travel! event agreed upon. Quentin Walesch from the strategy consultancy WAALD took the view that making use of recycled materials was no longer enough. Inga Huijbrechts from Radisson Hotels reminded those present that according to surveys about two-thirds of customers were keen on sustainable travel. Greater transparency was needed in order to make that possible for them.
Dirk Inger, spokesman for Deutscher Reiseverband, said that the top priority was “saving the tourism industry.” He also added that that was exactly what socially responsible sustainable travel was about, when one took into account what could happen at travel destinations if tourism as a source of revenue came to a standstill over a longer period time. Tour operators needed to adjust their perspective to appreciate the local situation if they really wanted to act in a sustainable manner, was the advice of Harald Pechlaner, professor of Tourism at Universität Eichstätt. Petra Thomas from Forum Anders reisen said it was time to say goodbye to the habit of doing things on holiday that caused harm to the local residents. The participants also called upon politicians’ duty to “bring normality back. Governing with fear is not a good recipe“, said Pechlande. “Clear rules are necessary at international, national, regional and local level.“