How important is sustainable travel to the many brands under the TTC umbrella?
We’re incredibly passionate about sustainable tourism. It’s something, which is deep within the DNA of TTC and the people who work for TTC. It’s also incredibly important for us just because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s one of the reasons TTC founded The TreadRight Foundation some 11 years ago. Through this we run a number of projects around the world supporting people, our planet and wildlife.
Some of the work TreadRight does is amazingly impactful, including the Make Travel Matter Pledge (see break out box). I truly believe we can make travel matter.
So promoting sustainable tourism clearly isn’t a new thing for TTC?
Brett Tolman, our Global CEO, is incredibly passionate about this area. He started TreadRight with David Hoskins and they’ve been driving it ever since. They recognised the importance way before the rest of us did.
It’s amazing when these projects come to life and you see the good they do, the benefits they produce, along with the sustainable element to both planet and wildlife, you realise just how important it is.
Do you think sustainability is just a generational thing?
Years ago it may have been stronger in the younger generation, but now I see it across the whole travel market and across all realms of society.
As Australians we have such a beautiful country and environment we live in that I think we are biased towards this subject. We recognise how lucky we are in Australia and how precious it is.
‘Over’ tourism has been a hot topic recently. You believe the travel industry needs to start promoting ‘under’ tourism.
Obviously there are very strong benefits economically from tourism, with a lot of employment coming through for hotels and tour operators. But we’re also talking about the local shops, cafes, restaurants, ice-cream vendors, so all that infrastructure gets a massive boost.
‘Under’ tourism is recognising that there are places in the world which would benefit and need further support from tourism. We’ve got to support these destinations socially, culturally, economically and environmentally. The list of places that need more tourism is enormous.
Do you have any examples?
We’re starting to go into Colombia with Luxury Gold. A few years back this destination had very low tourist numbers, but now we’re putting it on the map and on the radar for our guests and it will benefit from increased tourism.
Northern Ireland is another example. They are looking to double tourist numbers by 2030. They are not sitting there thinking they’ve got too many tourists. They really want more people and there are a lot of untapped places like that out there.
Is this something that also applies to domestic tourism?
Regional Australia has had such a tough period, with bushfires in a number of areas and drought. Whatever we can do to help tourism in regional Australia will add economic benefit to those areas.
Australians love to travel and giving them a holiday experience that they deserve makes us all happy. That’s why I love working with Australian travellers.
So will all TTC brands be actively promoting ‘under’ tourism now?
We’re always looking for new destinations, which our guests will enjoy and where we can offer them very special, exciting, in-depth experiences. We’re finding that a lot of those opportunities are in areas where there is ‘under’ tourism.
We are passionate about ‘under’ tourism. The economic benefits that we can bring to different societies and areas of the world with tourism –we can do the right thing.
Are there any other travel trends that you are noticing?
We’re seeing different group size travel across the industry and our role is to produce the perfect size group for the itinerary.
That varies by the different itinerary and geography, but we have to create the best possible experience for our guests. We take that responsibility very seriously.
Solo travel also seems to be expanding?
I think it is one of the emerging sectors of the market and I think travel agents are feeling it too. We are seeing people more willing to travel on their own and maybe that’s because we are becoming a much more well-travelled global community.
We’re seeing demand for solos increasing across a lot of our brands, both around the world and in Australia. We’ll need to adapt and make sure we’re creating the right holidays for solos, but if they come with us there’s a great opportunity for them to travel with like-minded people.
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