13 May 2020

Responsible Travel Webinar


Responsible travel is key to driving travel industry recovery in a
post lockdown world reveals FINN Partners webinar

To view the Webinar please click here.

Key findings:

Governments and trade bodies need to start to measure tourism post-crisis in terms other than purely economic and consider environmental and social impacts

Travel brands will need to be more transparent; data will be key to consumer confidence in travel

Amidst the trauma of coronavirus, there are green shoots and ‘green swans’ innovating their way out of the crisis

‘Sustainable tourism’ needs to be simple, ‘tourism’ done well, carbon offsetting is a ‘band-aid’, not the solution

A recent FINN Partners webinar on Responsible Travel featuring Jane Madden, Managing Partner, Global Sustainability and Social Impact, and Fiona Jeffery OBE, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Global Responsibility Tourism Practice, and Founder and Chairman of Just A Drop, was hosted on Wednesday 29 April 2020 and is now available to view online. The first in a series of planned webinars from FINN, it discussed the importance of responsible tourism in a post-lockdown world and how travel brands and destinations that embrace sustainable practices as part of their recovery process will reap the rewards in years to come.

With many sources identifying that post-lockdown travelers will be more thoughtful with their travel spend and will travel with purpose and sensitivity towards the health of people and planet, it was within this context that Madden and Jeffery provided long-term strategic insights and practical tips for travel companies and DMOs keen to develop sustainable offerings for these conscientious travelers of the future.

The panelists discussed the need for destinations to move away from acting as marketing organizations and focus on being responsible management companies with an environmental and social emphasis which will in turn, reap economic benefits.

Madden and Jeffery also identified traveler trends including how people will take fewer, but longer trips and will have a desire for more experiential travel that is seen to benefit local communities directly. They will also be looking for greater transparency from travel brands and as a result, robust data on their sustainable measures, as a key driver of consumer confidence.

Health and safety will also be embedded into travelers’ decisions and the panelists stressed the importance of destinations working closely with the health ministries, banks, investors, insurance companies and the private sector to achieve this moving forward in a well-coordinated, informed and transparent way. Carbon offsetting also needs to be looked at more closely by all travel brands to ensure their schemes are ethically driven.

There was an optimistic outlook from both panelists who highlighted brands and destinations that were already leading the way as well as so-called ‘green swans’, the innovators who are devising and creating positive developments such as airline uniforms that also act as PPE, and utilizing mobile technology to manage tourism flows.

Jane Madden, Managing Partner of Global Sustainability and Social Impact, Finn Partners, commented, “The traveler of the future will be much more mindful and for the tourism sector to recover and thrive post-lockdown, it’s important, now more than ever, that brands and destinations prioritize responsible travel as the cornerstone of all recovery plans. In the midst of Covid-19, we can’t lose sight of the Paris Agreement, out of this tragedy will come green shoots that the travel industry must act on.”

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Global Responsible Tourism Practice, Founder and Chairman of Just A Drop said: “In recent years the travel industry has been impacted by environmental disasters including Day Zero in Cape Town and the bushfires in Australia, which has awakened our business and personal consciousness. The industry has arguably been running out of control and we are now at our own ground zero. This is a unique moment in time to take a pause, right the wrongs, and move away from viewing responsible travel as a ‘nice to do’. There should be no such thing as ‘sustainable tourism’, simply ‘tourism’ were acting ethically and responsibly sits in the DNA of every travel brand.”

Amy Skelding, Senior Partner, Finn Partners Travel Practice UK commented: “As Brighter Group we were the first UK agency to set up a responsible tourism division and upon joining Finn Partners in 2018, we established a global responsible tourism division. Our hope for this webinar is that it will inform travel leaders about the vast possibilities and rewards that exist by engaging with a more sustainable approach to tourism.  In this strange time, where much of the world has stopped traveling we have the opportunity to take stock of the situation and set ourselves on a new, more responsibly sound path that will benefit both people and planet – both Jane and Fiona have so many tangible and practical ways brands can make great strides in responsible tourism and I urge anyone who wasn’t able to dial in live, to listen to it online.”