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More roads and bridges

© Ferdinand Stohr

At ITB Berlin NOW U.S. Travel president calls for smart transport to combat climate change

The tourism industry in the United States had to set itself aggressive goals to combat climate change, said Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, at ITB Berlin NOW Convention. He expected new and intelligent technologies instead of wholesale bans.

The economic fallout from the pandemic was more than double that of the Great Depression in  the 1930s, Dow said. In the tourism industry alone 51 per cent of the workforce had lost their jobs. International Incoming business had slumped by 76 per cent. He called for an array of measures to kickstart business, whereby reducing harmful emissions would have to be part and parcel of that. That applied globally and not just to the US. “We cannot recover without events like ITB“, Dow said.

He was confident of support from the new government under President Joe Biden. It was very much “hands-on“ regarding climate change. Concerning alternative power sources for cars the focus should not just be on electric, the president of U.S. Travel said. Compared with other countries, US public transport systems lagged behind, mainly due to the enormous distance between destination. That had to improve, since there were better solutions now “than always building new roads and bridges“.

Business travel and conventions were important markets for which the industry had to develop new solutions. Liability issues needed to be solved and policymakers had to be more flexible. It made little sense to make large events dependent on attendance numbers alone. “250 people in a telephone box are naturally too many, but they could gather in a trade fair hall with little risk of infection“, he said. He was pinning his hopes on the younger generation whose focus was more on sustainability. For “without travel we will lose an important part of our life“.

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