GOVERNMENT ministers and officials came under scathing attack at this year’s UNWTO Ministers’ Summit, held at WTM last month.
High-profile television presenter Richard Quest told government delegates to cut through the talk, knuckle down to action and to lead by example in the war against carbon emissions.
Quest, aged 45 and born in Liverpool, England, is known as Mr Tourism. He is an international face through his job with CNN and he was in firebrand form at ExCeL London as ministers from more than 60 countries prepared to endorse the Davos Declaration on climate change.
He put provocative questions to them, asking, how many had a car waiting for them; how many had requested their hotel not to change their sheets and towels that night; and how many had travelled to the event economy class.
He followed up “The business class seat is the most environmentally unfriendly on the aircraft. It takes more space, has greater weight and higher fuel burn.”
He continued, “I have read the Davos Declaration in detail. I am none the wiser about what’s going to be done.”
Quest complained that the document was hollow until fleshed out to concrete, perceptive changes that stakeholders in the industry adhere to and which tourists business and leisure can follow.
He called for programmes and policies that governments can promote not wordage and verbiage.
“I suggest and respectfully submit that more work needs to be done on changing the mindset rather than producing pamphlets of fine-sounding language. I consider myself as involved in the industry and it’s my part, as well, to use the same sheets, to fly at the back if I can, not always, but sometimes. Not to have cars sitting waiting for me burning fossil fuels.
“But, ultimately, we have to change the mindset of the tourist, whether it is the business traveller or the vacationer. We are in this sinking boat together and we need to offer them realistic possibilities and procedures to help bale us out of it.”
Quest’s criticisms honed in on the reluctance to make changes. He believes that there is a problem with perception that goes from the top of the tourism industry to its grass roots. “The reality is that many do not perceive themselves as being involved.
“When it comes to travel and leisure tourism, nobody wants to make a change. The tourist is spending hard-earned cash on their precious two week holiday and there is a reluctance – a Not on My Vacation.”
The Davos Declaration will be further examined at UN sessions in Colombia and Bali this month and December.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.