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Paying more than lip service to sustainability
The travel industry, and indeed the world, is at a crossroads at which the right actions need to be taken without further hesitation, when it comes to the future of our planet. The travel industry does of course contribute to the global output of CO2. But by the same token, perhaps no other industry has the capacity that tourism does for raising awareness of those who travel as to the fragility of our world, to the damage that has already been done, and to the urgent need to protect what’s left. A perfect case at hand is that of tourism in the Arctic and the Antarctic, which is seeing a massive boom, and is set to grow at lightning speed in coming years. But the prime movers in this trend are totally dedicated to the cause of the planet. More people need to see and experience this beauty that is crying out for our protection. An example is that of Hurtigruten, the largest player in the polar regions, connecting people with their “inner explorers.” Their two new state-of-the-art expedition ships, Amundsen and Nansen, set to be delivered in 2019 and 2020, will revolutionise adventure travel at sea. They’re the world’s first expeditionary ships able to sail fully electric with sustainable hybrid technology. As more people venture to places that take their breath away, the movement to keep our planet alive is bound to pick up pace. As Sir David Attenborough said recently, “It’s really not too late…” adding, “The idea that we can make a dramatic difference is really there for the taking.” Let’s take it. At ITB China, sustainability is no longer an after-thought. It is at the heart of the industry’s offering.