At the Best of Britain and Ireland Show, last week, Barbara Follett MP UK Minister for Tourism announced the publication of the DCMS Framework on Sustainable Tourism. The Framework aims to lay out the Government’s stance on sustainable tourism with advice for industry on how to embrace changing times. Mrs Follett was then interviewed for VISION on Sustainable Tourism about the Framework’s intentions and potential impacts on the industry.
A key point made by the Minister was that “sustainability is not as cataclysmic as everyone makes out, this is a learning curve. For example, we need to manage the amount we fly sensibly. But, dare I say, it is media hype that makes this difficult. We need careful management”. Mrs Follett went on to argue that in relation to the current economic crisis, sustainability issues are here to stay, saying “sustainability will have a bigger impact than anything else on the shape of the industry. The current economic crisis will be a shorter period of disruption but is we have experienced similar things in times gone by. When it comes to sustainable tourism the change will happen once and remain”.
When asked about accreditation schemes Mrs Follett drew attention to Green Start Scheme which is an ‘opt in’ programme for travel organisations, something that Mrs Follett believes is critical to its success. “We don’t want to force companies to comply, we want to ensure they understand the scheme and then opt in”
Finally The Minister was asked if she has advice to the tourism industry about the future of the sustainable travel, to which Mrs Follett replied “Keep calm, this is not as bad or as difficult as it sounds and we need to keep going and find new ways of doing things. This is a case of business evolution, simply with new parameters.”
DCMS Framework on Sustainable Tourism in brief:
• Challenge 1 - minimise environmental impact and resource use
• Challenge 2 - address the impact of tourism transport
• Challenge 3 - improve quality and make holidays available to all
• Challenge 4 - improve the quality of tourism jobs
• Challenge 5 - maintain and enhance community prosperity and quality of life
• Challenge 6 - reduce the seasonality of demand